Plant Construction Continues
SHREVEPORT, La., Oct. 22, 2009 – The Arkansas Supreme Court has decided to review a case concerning the John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant now under construction by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP).
The Supreme Court granted separate requests by SWEPCO and the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) after a June 24, 2009, ruling by the Arkansas Court of Appeals overturned the APSC’s decision to grant a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (CECPN) for construction of the Turk Plant.
“Obviously we are very pleased that the Supreme Court has chosen to review the case,” said Paul Chodak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “This is an important case – both for the Turk Plant and for the process used to approve major utility projects in Arkansas for more than 30 years. We believe the record in the case will show that the approval process was correct and that the Turk Plant approval should stand,” Chodak said.
SWEPCO is continuing construction of the $1.6 billion plant in Hempstead County, Ark. By law, the CECPN issued by the APSC remains in effect during the appeal process, Chodak said.
“As we have said before, the APSC approval was overturned because the Court of Appeals objected to the approval procedure and not because the judges objected to the Turk Plant. We believe the Turk Plant holds the best future for long-term reliability and affordable power for our customers,” Chodak said.
A CECPN is legal authorization granted by the state of Arkansas to a regulated utility to construct a power plant or transmission facilities and recover the costs from Arkansas retail customers through approved rates. It is only issued after public and formal review by the state and interested stakeholders.
The APSC granted SWEPCO’s application for a CECPN on Nov. 21, 2007, and issued an amended CECPN on Dec. 31, 2007. SWEPCO began construction of the plant in Hempstead County, Ark., after the company received an air permit from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality in November 2008. The Louisiana Public Service Commission and Public Utility Commission of Texas approved construction of the plant in March 2008 and July 2008, respectively.
The timetable for the case before the Arkansas Supreme Court has not been determined. The court may elect to accept additional briefs and/or oral arguments, but the court has not announced how it will proceed with the case.
As of Sept. 30, 2009, approximately $830 million had been spent on the Turk project, including $622 million by SWEPCO for its 73 percent share of the plant. SWEPCO had an additional $375 million in contractual commitments for the plant.
SWEPCO´s new generation projects include the 600-megawatt (MW) coal-fueled Turk Plant in southwest Arkansas, designed to meet the company’s base load needs, with a projected completion date of late 2012. The 508-MW combined-cycle, natural gas-fueled Stall Unit is designed to serve intermediate load – between base load and peak load – and is under construction in Shreveport, La. It is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2010. The 340-MW simple-cycle, natural gas-fueled Mattison Plant in Tontitown, Ark., was completed in 2007 and is now helping to meet peak demand on the SWEPCO system.
The Turk Plant´s "ultra-supercritical" advanced coal combustion technology will use less coal and produce fewer emissions, including carbon dioxide, than traditional pulverized coal plants. The plant will use low-sulfur coal and will include state-of-the-art emission control technologies, including a design that allows for the retrofit of carbon dioxide controls. “It will be one of the cleanest, most efficient coal-fueled plants in the United States,” Chodak said.
SWEPCO serves more than 473,500 customers in three states, including 113,500 in western Arkansas, 180,000 in Northwest Louisiana, and 180,000 in East and North Texas. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at www.swepco.com .
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east and north Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio. News releases and other information about AEP can be found at www.aep.com.
This report made by AEP and its Registrant Subsidiaries contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP and each of its Registrant Subsidiaries believe that their expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: electric load and customer growth; weather conditions, including storms; available sources and costs of, and transportation for, fuels and the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters; availability of generating capacity and the performance of AEP’s generating plants; AEP’s ability to recover regulatory assets and stranded costs in connection with deregulation; AEP’s ability to recover increases in fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP’s ability to build or acquire generating capacity (including AEP’s ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs through applicable rate cases or competitive rates; new legislation, litigation and government regulation including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances; new legislation, litigation and government regulation including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions (including rate or other recovery for new investments, transmission service and environmental compliance); resolution of litigation (including pending Clean Air Act enforcement actions and disputes arising from the bankruptcy of Enron Corp. and related matters); AEP’s ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; the economic climate and growth in AEP’s service territory and changes in market demand and demographic patterns; inflationary and interest rate trends; AEP’s ability to develop and execute a strategy based on a view regarding prices of electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in the creditworthiness of the counterparties with whom AEP has contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy trading market; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of debt; volatility and changes in markets for electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in utility regulation, including the potential for new legislation in Ohio and membership in and integration into regional transmission organizations; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; the performance of AEP’s pension and other postretirement benefit plans; prices for power that AEP generates and sells at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to new, developing or alternative sources of generation; other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes and other catastrophic events.