AEP unit files motion for relief, requests expedited ruling

AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), filed a motion for relief and request for expedited ruling related to a Feb. 23 order from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).

PUCO rejected an electricity rate increase request Feb. 23 from AEP, saying that approving the agreement would not benefit customers. PUCO said that the case to determine a capacity charge that competitive retail generation suppliers would pay AEP Ohio needed to proceed independently and that a procedural schedule would be established. AEP Ohio is requesting interim relief and an expedited ruling to avoid adverse financial impacts while waiting for a more permanent decision on the appropriate capacity charge.

The company estimates that if it is required to flash cut to RPM-priced capacity this year, it would cause the company’s projected 2012 earnings to drop by 27 percent and produce a return on equity (ROE) of 7.6 percent. Projected earnings for 2013 also would drop significantly by 67 percent and produce an ROE of 2.4 percent.

“AEP Ohio has committed significant capital investment in its Ohio generation fleet under what was a regulated environment to serve our customers’ generation needs,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP president and chief executive officer. “The settlement agreement allowed AEP Ohio a reasonable transition to market over a period of time. Without that transition, we will basically be giving the capacity we built to competitive suppliers for the taking.”

In the filing, AEP Ohio is asking the PUCO to maintain the status quo of what was proposed and in place for 2012 by the previously approved stipulated agreement pending an expedited resolution of the proceeding. In that agreement, AEP Ohio was to provide a percentage of its generation capacity to competitive retail suppliers at the deeply discounted RPM price.

The company proposed another alternative that would permit RPM-priced capacity for any customer that has shopped for generation supply to date, while allowing AEP Ohio to use a reduced cost-based rate for new shopping, pending resolution of the proceeding.

AEP Ohio has proposed a procedural schedule for resolution of this case that fully submits the record for decision in 60 days and a decision on the proceeding within 90 days.

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