American Electric Power Company 10-K 2007
Documents found in this filing:
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006
For the transition period from __________ to_________
AEP Generating Company, AEP Texas Central Company, AEP Texas North Company, Columbus Southern Power Company, Indiana Michigan Power Company, Kentucky Power Company and Public Service Company of Oklahoma meet the conditions set forth in General Instruction I(1)(a) and (b) of Form 10-K and are therefore filing this Form 10-K with the reduced disclosure format specified in General Instruction I(2) to such Form 10-K.
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Note On Market Value Of Common Equity Held By Non-Affiliates
American Electric Power Company, Inc. owns, directly or indirectly, all of the common stock of AEP Generating Company, AEP Texas Central Company, AEP Texas North Company, Appalachian Power Company, Columbus Southern Power Company, Indiana Michigan Power Company, Kentucky Power Company, Ohio Power Company, Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Southwestern Electric Power Company (see Item 12 herein).
Documents Incorporated By Reference
This combined Form 10-K is separately filed by AEP Generating Company, AEP Texas Central Company, AEP Texas North Company, American Electric Power Company, Inc., Appalachian Power Company, Columbus Southern Power Company, Indiana Michigan Power Company, Kentucky Power Company, Ohio Power Company, Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Southwestern Electric Power Company. Information contained herein relating to any individual registrant is filed by such registrant on its own behalf. Except for American Electric Power Company, Inc., each registrant makes no representation as to information relating to the other registrants.
You can access financial and other information at AEP’s website, including AEP’s Principles of Business Conduct (which also serves as a code of ethics applicable to Item 10 of this Form 10-K), certain committee charters and Principles of Corporate Governance. The address is www.AEP.com. AEP makes available, free of charge on its website, copies of its annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as soon as reasonably practicable after filing such material electronically or otherwise furnishing it to the SEC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
The following abbreviations or acronyms used in this Form 10-K are defined below:
This report made by AEP and certain of 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:
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
OVERVIEW AND DESCRIPTION OF SUBSIDIARIES
AEP was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York in 1906 and reorganized in 1925. It is a public utility holding company that owns, directly or indirectly, all of the outstanding common stock of its public utility subsidiaries and varying percentages of other subsidiaries.
The service areas of AEP’s public utility subsidiaries cover portions of the states of Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The generating and transmission facilities of AEP’s public utility subsidiaries are interconnected and their operations are coordinated. Transmission networks are interconnected with extensive distribution facilities in the territories served. The public utility subsidiaries of AEP have traditionally provided electric service, consisting of generation, transmission and distribution, on an integrated basis to their retail customers. Restructuring legislation in Michigan, Ohio, the ERCOT area of Texas and, as of December 31, 2006, Virginia has caused AEP public utility subsidiaries in those states to unbundle previously integrated regulated rates for their retail customers.
The AEP System is an integrated electric utility system. As a result, the member companies of the AEP System have contractual, financial and other business relationships with the other member companies, such as participation in the AEP System savings and retirement plans and tax returns, sales of electricity and transportation and handling of fuel. The member companies of the AEP System also obtain certain accounting, administrative, information systems, engineering, financial, legal, maintenance and other services at cost from a common provider, AEPSC.
At December 31, 2006, the subsidiaries of AEP had a total of 20,442 employees. Because it is a holding company rather than an operating company, AEP has no employees. The public utility subsidiaries of AEP are:
APCo (organized in Virginia in 1926) is engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power to approximately 949,000 retail customers in the southwestern portion of Virginia and southern West Virginia, and in supplying and marketing electric power at wholesale to other electric utility companies, municipalities and other market participants. At December 31, 2006, APCo and its wholly owned subsidiaries had 2,461 employees. Among the principal industries served by APCo are coal mining, primary metals, chemicals and textile mill products. In addition to its AEP System interconnections, APCo also is interconnected with the following unaffiliated utility companies: Carolina Power & Light Company, Duke Energy Corporation and Virginia Electric and Power Company. APCo has several points of interconnection with TVA and has entered into agreements with TVA under which APCo and TVA interchange and transfer electric power over portions of their respective systems. APCo is a member of PJM.
CSPCo (organized in Ohio in 1937, the earliest direct predecessor company having been organized in 1883) is engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power to approximately 742,000 retail customers in Ohio, and in supplying and marketing electric power at wholesale to other electric utilities, municipalities and other market participants. At December 31, 2006, CSPCo had 1,233 employees. CSPCo’s service area is comprised of two areas in Ohio, which include portions of twenty-five counties. One area includes the City of Columbus and the other is a predominantly rural area in south central Ohio. Among the principal industries served are food processing, chemicals, primary metals, electronic machinery and paper products. In addition to its AEP System interconnections, CSPCo also is interconnected with the following unaffiliated utility companies: CG&E, DP&L and Ohio Edison Company. CSPCo is a member of PJM.
I&M (organized in Indiana in 1925) is engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power to approximately 582,000 retail customers in northern and eastern Indiana and southwestern Michigan, and in supplying and marketing electric power at wholesale to other electric utility companies, rural electric cooperatives, municipalities and other market participants. At December 31, 2006, I&M had 2,643 employees. Among the principal industries served are primary metals, transportation equipment, electrical and electronic machinery, fabricated metal products, rubber and miscellaneous plastic products and chemicals and allied products. Since 1975, I&M has leased and operated the assets of the municipal system of the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana. In addition to its AEP System interconnections, I&M also is interconnected with the following unaffiliated utility companies: Central Illinois Public Service Company, CG&E, Commonwealth Edison Company, Consumers Energy Company, Illinois Power Company, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, Louisville Gas and Electric Company, Northern Indiana Public Service Company, PSI Energy Inc. and Richmond Power & Light Company. I&M is a member of PJM.
KPCo (organized in Kentucky in 1919) is engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power to approximately 176,000 retail customers in an area in eastern Kentucky, and in supplying and marketing electric power at wholesale to other electric utility companies, municipalities and other market participants. At December 31, 2006, KPCo had 466 employees. In addition to its AEP System interconnections, KPCo also is interconnected with the following unaffiliated utility companies: Kentucky Utilities Company and East Kentucky Power Cooperative Inc. KPCo is also interconnected with TVA. KPCo is a member of PJM.
Kingsport Power Company (organized in Virginia in 1917) provides electric service to approximately 46,000 retail customers in Kingsport and eight neighboring communities in northeastern Tennessee. Kingsport Power Company does not own any generating facilities and is a member of PJM. It purchases electric power from APCo for distribution to its customers. At December 31, 2006, Kingsport Power Company had 60 employees.
OPCo (organized in Ohio in 1907 and re-incorporated in 1924) is engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power to approximately 712,000 retail customers in the northwestern, east central, eastern and southern sections of Ohio, and in supplying and marketing electric power at wholesale to other electric utility companies, municipalities and other market participants. At December 31, 2006, OPCo had 2,330 employees. Among the principal industries served by OPCo are primary metals, rubber and plastic products, stone, clay, glass and concrete products, petroleum refining and chemicals. In addition to its AEP System interconnections, OPCo also is interconnected with the following unaffiliated utility companies: CG&E, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, DP&L, Duquesne Light Company, Kentucky Utilities Company, Monongahela Power Company, Ohio Edison Company, The Toledo Edison Company and West Penn Power Company. OPCo is a member of PJM.
PSO (organized in Oklahoma in 1913) is engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power to approximately 520,000 retail customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma, and in supplying and marketing electric power at wholesale to other electric utility companies, municipalities, rural electric cooperatives and other market participants. At December 31, 2006, PSO had 1,233 employees. Among the principal industries served by PSO are natural gas and oil production, oil refining, steel processing, aircraft maintenance, paper manufacturing and timber products, glass, chemicals, cement, plastics, aerospace manufacturing, telecommunications, and rubber goods. In addition to its AEP System interconnections, PSO also is interconnected with Ameren Corporation, Empire District Electric Co., Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co., Southwestern Public Service Co. and Westar Energy Inc. PSO is a member of SPP.
SWEPCo (organized in Delaware in 1912) is engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power to approximately 456,000 retail customers in northeastern Texas, northwestern Louisiana and western Arkansas, and in supplying and marketing electric power at wholesale to other electric utility companies, municipalities, rural electric cooperatives and other market participants. At December 31, 2006, SWEPCo had 1,545 employees. Among the principal industries served by SWEPCo are natural gas and oil production, petroleum refining, manufacturing of pulp and paper, chemicals, food processing, and metal refining. The territory served by SWEPCo also includes several military installations, colleges, and universities. SWEPCO also owns and operates a lignite coal mining operation. In addition to its AEP System interconnections, SWEPCo is also interconnected with CLECO Corp., Empire District Electric Co., Entergy Corp. and Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. SWEPCo is a member of SPP.
TCC (organized in Texas in 1945) is engaged in the transmission and distribution of electric power to approximately 738,000 retail customers through REPs in southern Texas. Under the Texas Act, TCC has completed the final stage of exiting the generation business and has sold all of its generation assets. At December 31, 2006, TCC had 1,224 employees. Among the principal industries served by TCC are oil and gas extraction, food processing, apparel, metal refining, chemical and petroleum refining, plastics, and machinery equipment. In addition to its AEP System interconnections, TCC is a member of ERCOT.
TNC (organized in Texas in 1927) is engaged in the transmission and distribution of electric power to approximately 189,000 retail customers through REPs in west and central Texas. TNC’s remaining generating capacity that is not deactivated has been transferred to an affiliate at TNC’s cost pursuant to a 20-year agreement. At December 31, 2006, TNC had 386 employees. Among the principal industries served by TNC are agriculture and the manufacturing or processing of cotton seed products, oil products, precision and consumer metal products, meat products and gypsum products. The territory served by TNC also includes several military installations and correctional facilities. In addition to its AEP System interconnections, TNC is a member of ERCOT.
WPCo (organized in West Virginia in 1883 and reincorporated in 1911) provides electric service to approximately 41,000 retail customers in northern West Virginia. WPCo does not own any generating facilities. WPCo is a member of PJM. It purchases electric power from OPCo for distribution to its customers. At December 31, 2006, WPCo had 61 employees.
AEGCo (organized in Ohio in 1982) is an electric generating company. AEGCo sells power at wholesale to I&M and KPCo. AEGCo has no employees.
SERVICE COMPANY SUBSIDIARY
AEP also owns a service company subsidiary, AEPSC. AEPSC provides accounting, administrative, information systems, engineering, financial, legal, maintenance and other services at cost to the AEP System companies. The executive officers of AEP and certain of its public utility subsidiaries are employees of AEPSC. At December 31, 2006, AEPSC had 5,961 employees.
CLASSES OF SERVICE
The principal classes of service from which the public utility subsidiaries of AEP derive revenues and the amount of such revenues during the year ended December 31, 2006 are as follows:
EPACT AND THE REPEAL OF PUHCA
EPACT was signed into law on August 8, 2005. Among other things, EPACT repealed PUHCA, effective February 8, 2006. PUHCA regulated many significant aspects of a registered holding company system, such as the AEP System. PUHCA limited the operations of a registered holding company system to a single integrated public utility system and such other businesses as were incidental or necessary to the operations of the system. PUHCA also required that transactions between associated companies in a registered holding company system be performed at cost, with limited exceptions. As a result of PUHCA’s repeal, utility holding companies, including the AEP system, are no longer limited to a single integrated public utility system. Further, utility holding companies are no longer restricted from acquiring businesses that may not be related to the utility business. Jurisdiction over certain holding company related activities has been transferred to the FERC, including the issuances of securities by public utilities, the acquisition of securities of utilities, the acquisition or sale of certain utility assets, and mergers with another electric utility or holding company. In addition, both FERC and state regulators will be permitted to review the books and records of any company within a holding company system.
EPACT contains key provisions affecting the electric power industry. These provisions include tax changes for the utility industry, incentives for emissions reductions and federal insurance and incentives to build new nuclear power plants. It gives the FERC “backstop” transmission siting authority as well as increased utility merger oversight. The law also provides incentives and funding for clean coal technologies and initiatives to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gases. FERC has issued regulations implementing EPACT. We do not expect compliance with these regulations to have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
Companies within the AEP System generally use short-term debt to finance working capital needs. Short-term debt is also used to finance acquisitions, construction and redemption or repurchase of outstanding securities until such needs can be financed with long-term debt. In recent history, short-term funding needs have been provided for by cash on hand and AEP’s commercial paper program. Funds are made available to subsidiaries under the AEP corporate borrowing program. Certain public utility subsidiaries of AEP also sell accounts receivable to provide liquidity.
AEP’s revolving credit agreements (which backstop the commercial paper program) include covenants and events of default typical for this type of facility, including a maximum debt/capital test and a $50 million cross-acceleration provision. At December 31, 2006, AEP was in compliance with its debt covenants. With the exception of a voluntary bankruptcy or insolvency, any event of default has either or both a cure period or notice requirement before termination of the agreements. A voluntary bankruptcy or insolvency would be considered an immediate termination event. See Management’s Financial Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, under the heading entitled Financial Condition for additional information with respect to AEP’s credit agreements.
AEP’s subsidiaries have also utilized, and expect to continue to utilize, additional financing arrangements, such as leasing arrangements, including the leasing of coal transportation equipment and facilities.
In September 2005, Moody’s upgraded AEP’s senior unsecured rating to Baa2 from Baa3 and its commercial paper rating to Prime-2 from Prime-3. There were no changes in the ratings or rating outlook for AEP or AEP’s rated subsidiaries by Moody’s since that time. S&P did not change the ratings of AEP or its rated subsidiaries during 2006; it did improve our business risk profile rating from six to five. Fitch placed TNC on negative outlook in April 2006 but has made no other changes to the ratings of AEP or its rated subsidiaries during 2006.
See Management’s Financial Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, under the heading entitled Financial Condition for additional information with respect to the credit ratings of the registrants other than AEGCo.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND OTHER MATTERS
AEP’s subsidiaries are currently subject to regulation by federal, state and local authorities with regard to air and water-quality control and other environmental matters, and are subject to zoning and other regulation by local authorities. The environmental issues that are potentially material to the AEP system include:
In addition to imposing continuing compliance obligations, these laws and regulations authorize the imposition of substantial penalties for noncompliance, including fines, injunctive relief and other sanctions. See Management’s Financial Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations under the heading entitled Environmental Matters, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for further information with respect to environmental issues.
If our expenditures for pollution control technologies, replacement generation and associated operating costs are not recoverable from customers through regulated rates (in regulated jurisdictions) or market prices (in deregulated jurisdictions), those costs could adversely affect future results of operations and cash flows, and possibly financial condition.
The cost of complying with applicable environmental laws, regulations and rules is expected to be material to the AEP System.
See Management’s Financial Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations under the heading entitled Environmental Matters and Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements entitled Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for further information with respect to environmental matters.
Investments related to improving AEP System plants’ environmental performance and compliance with air and water quality standards during 2004, 2005 and 2006 and the current estimates for 2007, 2008 and 2009 are shown below, in each case excluding AFUDC or capitalized interest. Substantial investments in addition to the amounts set forth below are expected by the System in future years in connection with the modification and addition of facilities at generating plants for environmental quality controls in order to comply with air and water quality standards which have been or may be adopted. Future investments could be significantly greater if litigation regarding whether AEP properly installed emission control equipment on its plants is resolved against any AEP subsidiaries or emissions reduction requirements are accelerated or otherwise become more onerous or if CO2 becomes regulated. See Management’s Financial Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations under the heading entitled Environmental Matters and Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements, entitled Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for more information regarding this litigation and environmental expenditures in general.
Figures set forth in parentheses reflect amounts invested and later expensed as a result of project cancellation or significant delay.
Electric and Magnetic Fields
EMF are found everywhere there is electricity. Electric fields are created by the presence of electric charges. Magnetic fields are produced by the flow of those charges. This means that EMF are created by electricity flowing in transmission and distribution lines, electrical equipment, household wiring, and appliances.
A number of studies in the past several years have examined the possibility of adverse health effects from EMF. While some of the epidemiological studies have indicated some association between exposure to EMF and health effects, none has produced any conclusive evidence that EMF does or does not cause adverse health effects.
Management cannot predict the ultimate impact of the question of EMF exposure and adverse health effects. If further research shows that EMF exposure contributes to increased risk of cancer or other health problems, or if the courts conclude that EMF exposure harms individuals and that utilities are liable for damages, or if states limit the strength of magnetic fields to such a level that the current electricity delivery system must be significantly changed, then the results of operations and financial condition of AEP and its operating subsidiaries could be materially adversely affected unless these costs can be recovered from customers.
Utility operations constitute most of AEP’s business operations. Utility operations include (i) the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power to retail customers and (ii) the supplying and marketing of electric power at wholesale (through the electric generation function) to other electric utility companies, municipalities and other market participants. AEPSC, as agent for AEP’s public utility subsidiaries, performs marketing, generation dispatch, fuel procurement and power-related risk management and trading activities.
AEP’s public utility subsidiaries own or lease approximately 35,000 MW of domestic generation. See Item 2 — Properties for more information regarding AEP’s generation capacity.
AEP Power Pool and CSW Operating Agreement
APCo, CSPCo, I&M, KPCo and OPCo are parties to the Interconnection Agreement defining how they share the costs and benefits associated with their generating plants. This sharing is based upon each company’s “member-load-ratio.” The Interconnection Agreement has been approved by the FERC.
The member-load-ratio is calculated monthly by dividing such company’s highest monthly peak demand for the last twelve months by the aggregate of the highest monthly peak demand for the last twelve months for all AEP East companies. As of December 31, 2006, the member-load-ratios were as follows:
The Ohio Act was enacted in 2001. To comply with that law CSPCo and OPCo functionally separated their generation business from their remaining operations. They plan to remain functionally separated through at least December 31, 2008 as authorized by their rate stabilization plans approved by the PUCO. CSPCo and OPCo have been involved in discussions with various stakeholders in Ohio about potential legislation to address the period following the expiration of the rate stabilization plans. See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements, entitled Rate Matters, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for more information.
Since 1995, APCo, CSPCo, I&M, KPCo and OPCo have been parties to the AEP System Interim Allowance Agreement (Allowance Agreement), which provides, among other things, for the transfer of emission allowances associated with transactions under the Interconnection Agreement.
The following table shows the net (credits) or charges allocated among the parties under the Interconnection Agreement during the years ended December 31, 2004, 2005 and 2006:
PSO, SWEPCo, and AEPSC are parties to a Restated and Amended Operating Agreement originally dated as of January 1, 1997 (CSW Operating Agreement), which has been approved by the FERC. The CSW Operating Agreement requires these public utility subsidiaries to maintain adequate annual planning reserve margins and requires the subsidiaries that have capacity in excess of the required margins to make such capacity available for sale to other public utility subsidiary parties as capacity commitments. Parties are compensated for energy delivered to the recipients based upon the deliverer’s incremental cost plus a portion of the recipient’s savings realized by the purchaser that avoids the use of more costly alternatives. Revenues and costs arising from third party sales in their region are generally shared based on the amount of energy each west zone public utility subsidiary contributes that is sold to third parties. The separation of the generation business undertaken by TCC and TNC to comply with the Texas Act has made the business operations of TCC and TNC incompatible with the CSW Operating Agreement. As a result, with FERC approval, these companies are no longer parties to, and no longer supply generating capacity under, the CSW Operating Agreement.
The following table shows the net (credits) or charges allocated among the parties under the CSW Operating Agreement during the years ended December 31, 2004, 2005 and 2006:
Power generated by or allocated or provided under the Interconnection Agreement or CSW Operating Agreement to any public utility subsidiary is primarily sold to customers by such public utility subsidiary at rates approved by the public utility commission in the jurisdiction of sale. In Ohio and Virginia, such rates are based on a statutory formula as those jurisdictions continue to transition to the use of market rates for generation. See Regulation — Rates under Item 1, Utility Operations.
Under both the Interconnection Agreement and CSW Operating Agreement, power that is not needed to serve the native load of our public utility subsidiaries is sold in the wholesale market by AEPSC on behalf of those subsidiaries. See Risk Management and Trading, below, for a discussion of the trading and marketing of such power.
AEP’s System Integration Agreement, which has been approved by the FERC, provides for the integration and coordination of AEP’s East companies, PSO and SWEPCO. This includes joint dispatch of generation within the AEP System and the distribution, between the two zones, of costs and benefits associated with the transfers of power between the two zones (including sales to third parties and risk management and trading activities). It is designed to function as an umbrella agreement in addition to the Interconnection Agreement and the CSW Operating Agreement, each of which controls the distribution of costs and benefits for activities within each zone. The separation of the generation business undertaken by TCC and TNC to comply with the Texas Act has also made the business operations of TCC and TNC incompatible with the System Integration Agreement. As a result, with FERC approval, these two companies have been removed from this agreement.
Risk Management and Trading
As agent for AEP’s public utility subsidiaries, AEPSC sells excess power into the market and engages in power, natural gas, coal and emissions allowances risk management and trading activities focused in regions in which AEP traditionally operates. These activities primarily involve the purchase and sale of electricity (and to a lesser extent, natural gas, coal and emissions allowances) under physical forward contracts at fixed and variable prices. These contracts include physical transactions, over-the-counter swaps and exchange-traded futures and options. The majority of physical forward contracts are typically settled by entering into offsetting contracts. These transactions are executed with numerous counterparties or on exchanges. Counterparties and exchanges may require cash or cash related instruments to be deposited on these transactions as margin against open positions. As of December 31, 2006, counterparties and exchanges have posted approximately $156 million in cash, cash equivalents or letters of credit with AEPSC for the benefit of AEP’s public utility subsidiaries (while, as of that date, AEP’s public utility subsidiaries had posted approximately $110 million with counterparties and exchanges). Since open trading contracts are valued based on changes in market power prices, exposures change daily.
The following table shows the sources of power generated by the AEP System:
Variations in the generation of nuclear power are primarily related to refueling and maintenance outages in addition to the sale of TCC’s share of a nuclear generating unit in May 2005. Variations in the generation of natural gas power are primarily related to the availability of cheaper alternatives to fulfill certain power requirements and the deactivation or sale of certain gas-fired plants owned by TCC and TNC. Price increases in one or more fuel sources relative to other fuels generally result in increased use of other fuels.
Coal and Lignite: AEP’s public utility subsidiaries procure coal and lignite under a combination of purchasing arrangements including long-term contracts, affiliate operations, short-term, and spot agreements with various producers and coal trading firms. The price for most solid fuels generally has been increasing. Management has responded to increases in the price of coal by rebalancing the coal used in its generating facilities with products from different coal regions and sources that have different heat and sulfur contents. This rebalancing is an ongoing process that is expected to continue, primarily enabled by the installation of scrubbers at many of our generating facilities. Management believes, but cannot provide assurances, that AEP’s public utility subsidiaries will be able to secure and transport coal and lignite of adequate quality and in adequate quantities to operate their coal and lignite-fired units. Through subsidiaries, AEP owns or leases more than 7,000 railcars, 600 barges, 15 towboats and a coal handling terminal with 20 million tons of annual capacity to move and store coal for use in its generating facilities. See MEMCO Operations for a discussion of AEP’s for-profit coal and other dry-bulk commodity transportation operations that are not part of AEP’s Utility Operations segment.
The following table shows the amount of coal and lignite delivered to the AEP System during the past three years and the average delivered price of spot coal purchased by System companies:
The coal supplies at AEP System plants vary from time to time depending on various factors, including customers’ usage of electric power, space limitations, the rate of consumption at particular plants, labor issues and weather conditions which may interrupt deliveries. At December 31, 2006, the System’s coal inventory was approximately 44 days of normal usage. This estimate assumes that the total supply would be utilized through the operation of plants that use coal most efficiently.
In cases of emergency or shortage, system companies have developed programs to conserve coal supplies at their plants. Such programs have been filed and reviewed with officials of federal and state agencies and, in some cases, the relevant state regulatory agency has prescribed actions to be taken under specified circumstances by System companies, subject to the jurisdiction of such agency.
The FERC has adopted regulations relating, among other things, to the circumstances under which, in the event of fuel emergencies or shortages, it might order electric utilities to generate and transmit electric power to other regions or systems experiencing fuel shortages, and to ratemaking principles by which such electric utilities would be compensated. In addition, the federal government is authorized, under prescribed conditions, to reallocate coal and to require the transportation thereof, for the use at power plants or major fuel-burning installations experiencing fuel shortages.
Natural Gas: Through its public utility subsidiaries, AEP consumed over 104 billion cubic feet of natural gas during 2006 for generating power. A majority of the natural gas-fired power plants are connected to at least two pipelines, which allows greater access to competitive supplies and improves delivery reliability. A portfolio of long-term, monthly, seasonal firm and daily peaking purchase and transportation agreements (that are entered into on a competitive basis and based on market prices) supplies natural gas requirements for each plant.
Nuclear: I&M has made commitments to meet the current nuclear fuel requirements of the Cook Plant. I&M has made and will make purchases of uranium in various forms in the spot, short-term, and mid-term markets until it decides that deliveries under long-term supply contracts are warranted.
For purposes of the storage of high-level radioactive waste in the form of spent nuclear fuel, I&M completed modifications to its spent nuclear fuel storage pool more than 10 years ago. I&M anticipates that the Cook Plant has sufficient storage capacity for its spent nuclear fuel to permit normal operations through 2013. I&M has initiated a project to study the use of dry cask storage.
Nuclear Waste and Decommissioning
As the owner of the Cook Plant, I&M has a significant future financial commitment to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and decommission and decontaminate the plant safely. The cost to decommission a nuclear plant is affected by NRC regulations and the SNF disposal program. The estimated cost of decommissioning and disposal of low-level radioactive waste for the Cook Plant ranges from $733 million to $1.3 billion in 2006 nondiscounted dollars. At December 31, 2006, the total decommissioning trust fund balance for the Cook Plant was $974 million. The ultimate cost of retiring the Cook Plant may be materially different from estimates and funding targets as a result of the:
Accordingly, management is unable to provide assurance that the ultimate cost of decommissioning the Cook Plant will not be significantly different than current projections.
See Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements, entitled Nuclear, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for information with respect to nuclear waste and decommissioning.
Low-Level Radioactive Waste: The LLWPA mandates that the responsibility for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste rests with the individual states. Low-level radioactive waste consists largely of ordinary refuse and other items that have come in contact with radioactive materials. Michigan does not currently have a disposal site for such waste available. I&M cannot predict when such a site may be available, but South Carolina and Utah operate low-level radioactive waste disposal sites and currently accept low-level radioactive waste from Michigan. I&M’s access to the South Carolina facility is currently allowed through the end of fiscal year 2008. There is currently no set date limiting I&M’s access to the Utah facility.
Structured Arrangements Involving Capacity, Energy, and Ancillary Services
In January 2000, OPCo and NPC, an affiliate of Buckeye, entered into an agreement relating to the construction and operation of a 510 MW gas-fired electric generating peaking facility to be owned by NPC and called the Mone Plant. OPCo is entitled to 100% of the power generated by the Mone Plant, and is responsible for the fuel and other costs of the facility through May 2007, as extended. Following that, NPC and OPCo will be entitled to 80% and 20%, respectively, of the power of the Mone Plant, and both parties will generally be responsible for their allocable portion of the fuel and other costs of the facility.
Certain Power Agreements
AEGCo: Since its formation in 1982, AEGCo’s business has consisted of the ownership and financing of its 50% interest in Unit 1 of the Rockport Plant and, since 1989, its 50% leasehold interest in Unit 2 of the Rockport Plant. Substantially all of the operating revenues of AEGCo are derived from the sale of capacity and energy associated with its interest in the Rockport Plant to I&M and KPCo pursuant to unit power agreements, which have been approved by the FERC.
The I&M Power Agreement provides for the sale by AEGCo to I&M of all the capacity (and the energy associated therewith) available to AEGCo at the Rockport Plant. Whether or not power is available from AEGCo, I&M is obligated to pay as a demand charge for the right to receive such power (and as an energy charge for any associated energy taken by I&M). When added to amounts received by AEGCo from any other sources, such amounts will be at least sufficient to enable AEGCo to pay all its operating and other expenses, including a rate of return on the common equity of AEGCo as approved by FERC, currently 12.16%. The I&M Power Agreement will continue in effect until the last of the lease terms of Unit 2 of the Rockport Plant has expired (currently December 2022) unless extended in specified circumstances.
Pursuant to an assignment between I&M and KPCo, and a unit power agreement between KPCo and AEGCo, AEGCo sells KPCo 30% of the capacity (and the energy associated therewith) available to AEGCo from both units of the Rockport Plant. KPCo has agreed to pay to AEGCo the amounts which I&M would have paid AEGCo under the terms of the I&M Power Agreement for such entitlement. The KPCo unit power agreement expires in December 2022.
AEGCo and AEP have entered into a capital funds agreement pursuant to which, among other things, AEP has unconditionally agreed to make cash capital contributions, or in certain circumstances subordinated loans, to AEGCo to the extent necessary to enable AEGCo to (i) maintain such an equity component of capitalization as required by governmental regulatory authorities; (ii) provide its proportionate share of the funds required to permit commercial operation of the Rockport Plant; (iii) enable AEGCo to perform all of its obligations, covenants and agreements under, among other things, all loan agreements, leases and related documents to which AEGCo is or becomes a party (AEGCo Agreements); and (iv) pay all indebtedness, obligations and liabilities of AEGCo (AEGCo Obligations) under the AEGCo Agreements, other than indebtedness, obligations or liabilities owing to AEP. The capital funds agreement will terminate after all AEGCo obligations have been paid in full.
OVEC: AEP and several unaffiliated utility companies jointly own OVEC. The aggregate equity participation of AEP in OVEC is 43.47%. Until September 1, 2001, OVEC supplied from its generating capacity the power requirements of a uranium enrichment plant near Portsmouth, Ohio owned by the DOE. The sponsoring companies are now entitled to receive and obligated to pay for all OVEC capacity (approximately 2,200 MW) in proportion to their respective power participation ratios. The aggregate power participation ratio of APCo, CSPCo, I&M and OPCo is 43.47%. The proceeds from the sale of power by OVEC are designed to be sufficient for OVEC to meet its operating expenses and fixed costs and to provide a return on its equity capital. The Amended and Restated Inter-Company Power Agreement, which defines the rights of the owners and sets the power participation ratio of each, will expire by its terms on March 12, 2026. AEP and the other owners have been evaluating the need for environmental investments related to their ownership interests, which are material. In December 2006, OVEC’s Board of Directors authorized interim capital expenditures totaling $366 million in order to complete detailed engineering and begin construction of flue gas desulfurization (sulfur dioxide scrubber) projects and the associated scrubber waste disposal landfills. If approved, the estimated total cost to complete the projects would be slightly in excess of $1 billion, which OVEC would expect to finance through issuing debt. With the expiration of that provision, Buckeye is entitled to receive and must pay for power up to its proportionate share of the station.
Buckeye: On October 1, 2004, AEP joined PJM, and the Buckeye transmission service over the AEP System was transferred under the PJM Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT). The Cardinal Station Agreement between OPCO and Buckeye contains a provision that expired in May 2006. Under that provision, Buckeye was entitled to receive, and was obligated to pay for, the excess of its maximum one-hour coincident peak demand plus a 15% reserve margin over the 1,226,500 kilowatts of capacity of the generating units which Buckeye currently owns in the Cardinal Station. Such demand, which occurred on July 25, 2005, was recorded at 1,434,807 kilowatts. With the expiration of that provision, Buckeye is entitled to receive and must pay for power in amounts equal to its proportionate share of the station.
ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION
AEP’s public utility subsidiaries (other than AEGCo) own and operate transmission and distribution lines and other facilities to deliver electric power. See Item 2—Properties for more information regarding the transmission and distribution lines. Most of the transmission and distribution services are sold, in combination with electric power, to retail customers of AEP’s public utility subsidiaries in their service territories. These sales are made at rates established and approved by the state utility commissions of the states in which they operate, and in some instances, approved by the FERC. See Regulation—Rates. The FERC regulates and approves the rates for wholesale transmission transactions. See Item 1 - Business/Utility Operations - Regulation—FERC. As discussed below, some transmission services also are separately sold to non-affiliated companies.
AEP’s public utility subsidiaries (other than AEGCo) hold franchises or other rights to provide electric service in various municipalities and regions in their service areas. In some cases, these franchises provide the utility with the exclusive right to provide electric service. These franchises have varying provisions and expiration dates. In general, the operating companies consider their franchises to be adequate for the conduct of their business. For a discussion of competition in the sale of power, see Item 1 - Business/Utility Operations - Competition.
AEP Transmission Pool
Transmission Equalization Agreement: APCo, CSPCo, I&M, KPCo and OPCo operate their transmission lines as a single interconnected and coordinated system and are parties to the TEA, defining how they share the costs and benefits associated with their relative ownership of the extra-high-voltage transmission system (facilities rated 345kV and above) and certain facilities operated at lower voltages (138kV up to 345kV). The TEA has been approved by the FERC. Sharing under the TEA is based upon each company’s “member-load-ratio.” The member-load-ratio is calculated monthly by dividing such company’s highest monthly peak demand for the last twelve months by the aggregate of the highest monthly peak demand for the last twelve months for all east zone operating companies. The respective peak demands and member-load-ratios as of December 31, 2006 are set forth above in the section titled ELECTRIC GENERATION - AEP Power Pool and CSW Operating Agreement.
The following table shows the net (credits) or charges allocated among the parties to the TEA during the years ended December 31, 2004, 2005 and 2006:
Transmission Coordination Agreement: PSO, SWEPCo, TCC, TNC and AEPSC are parties to the TCA. The TCA has been approved by the FERC and establishes a coordinating committee, which is charged with the responsibility of (i) overseeing the coordinated planning of the transmission facilities of the AEP West companies, including the performance of transmission planning studies, (ii) the interaction of such subsidiaries with independent system operators and other regional bodies interested in transmission planning and (iii) compliance with the terms of the OATT filed with the FERC and the rules of the FERC relating to such tariff.
Under the TCA, the AEP West companies have delegated to AEPSC the responsibility of monitoring the reliability of their transmission systems and administering the AEP OATT on their behalf. Prior to September 2005, the TCA also provided for the allocation among the AEP West companies of revenues collected for transmission and ancillary services provided under the AEP OATT. Since then, these allocations have been determined by the FERC-approved OATT for the SPP (with respect to PSO and SWEPCo) and PUCT-approved protocols for ERCOT (with respect to TCC and TNC).
The following table shows the net (credits) or charges allocated among the parties to the TCA prior to September 2005, and pursuant to the SPP OATT and ERCOT protocols as described above during the years ended December 31, 2004, 2005 and 2006:
Transmission Services for Non-Affiliates: In addition to providing transmission services in connection with their own power sales, AEP’s public utility subsidiaries through RTOs also provide transmission services for non-affiliated companies. See Item 1 - Business/Utility operations - Regional Transmission Organizations, below. Transmission of electric power by AEP’s public utility subsidiaries is regulated by the FERC.
Coordination of East and West Zone Transmission: AEP’s System Transmission Integration Agreement provides for the integration and coordination of the planning, operation and maintenance of the transmission facilities of AEP East and AEP West companies. The System Transmission Integration Agreement functions as an umbrella agreement in addition to the TEA and the TCA. The System Transmission Integration Agreement contains two service schedules that govern:
The System Transmission Integration Agreement contemplates that additional service schedules may be added as circumstances warrant.
Regional Transmission Organizations
On April 24, 1996, the FERC issued orders 888 and 889. These orders require each public utility that owns or controls interstate transmission facilities to file an open access network and point-to-point transmission tariff that offers services comparable to the utility’s own uses of its transmission system. The orders also require utilities to functionally unbundle their services, by requiring them to use their own tariffs in making off-system and third-party sales. As part of the orders, the FERC issued a pro-forma tariff that reflects the Commission’s views on the minimum non-price terms and conditions for non-discriminatory transmission service. In addition, the orders require all transmitting utilities to establish an OASIS, which electronically posts transmission information such as available capacity and prices, and require utilities to comply with Standards of Conduct that prohibit utilities’ system operators from providing non-public transmission information to the utility’s merchant energy employees. The orders also allow a utility to seek recovery of certain prudently incurred stranded costs that result from unbundled transmission service.
In December 1999, FERC issued Order 2000, which provides for the voluntary formation of RTOs, entities created to operate, plan and control utility transmission assets. Order 2000 also prescribes certain characteristics and functions of acceptable RTO proposals. As a condition of FERC’s approval in 2000 of AEP’s merger with CSW, AEP was required to transfer functional control of its transmission facilities to one or more RTOs. The AEP East Companies integrated into PJM (a FERC-approved RTO) on October 1, 2004.
SWEPCo and PSO are members of the SPP. In February 2004, the FERC conditionally approved SPP as an RTO. In October 2004, the FERC issued an order granting RTO status to SPP subject to certain filings. The APSC and LPSC have ordered the utilities in those states, including our utilities, to analyze and submit to them the costs and benefits of RTO options available to the utilities. Certain states in the region have undertaken and released a study investigating the costs and benefits of SPP developing into a RTO that administers energy and associated markets. On August 10, 2006, the APSC issued an order approving, among other things, SWEPCo’s participation in SPP, subject to certain reporting and continuing oversight conditions.
The remaining AEP West companies (TCC and TNC) are members of ERCOT.
See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements, entitled Rate Matters, included in the 2006 Annual Reports under the heading entitled RTO Formation/Integration Costs and Transmission Rate Proceedings at the FERC for a discussion of public utility subsidiary participation in RTOs.
Except for retail generation sales in Ohio, Virginia and the ERCOT area of Texas, AEP’s public utility subsidiaries’ retail rates and certain other matters are subject to traditional regulation by the state utility commissions. While still regulated, retail sales in Michigan are now made at unbundled rates. See Item 1 - Utility Operations - Electric Restructuring and Customer Choice Legislation and Rates, below. AEP’s subsidiaries are also subject to regulation by the FERC under the FPA. I&M is subject to regulation by the NRC under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, with respect to the operation of the Cook Plant. AEP and its public utility subsidiaries are also subject to the regulatory provisions of EPACT, much of which is administered by the FERC. EPACT contains key provisions affecting the electric power industry such as giving the FERC “backstop” transmission siting authority as well as increased utility merger oversight. The law also provides incentives and funding for clean coal technologies and initiatives to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gases.
Historically, state utility commissions have established electric service rates on a cost-of-service basis, which is designed to allow a utility an opportunity to recover its cost of providing service and to earn a reasonable return on its investment used in providing that service. A utility’s cost of service generally reflects its operating expenses, including operation and maintenance expense, depreciation expense and taxes. State utility commissions periodically adjust rates pursuant to a review of (i) a utility’s revenues and expenses during a defined test period and (ii) such utility’s level of investment. Absent a legal limitation, such as a law limiting the frequency of rate changes or capping rates for a period of time as part of a transition to customer choice of generation suppliers, a state utility commission can review and change rates on its own initiative. Some states may initiate reviews at the request of a utility, customer, governmental or other representative of a group of customers. Such parties may, however, agree with one another not to request reviews of or changes to rates for a specified period of time.
In many jurisdictions, the rates of AEP’s public utility subsidiaries are generally based on the cost of providing traditional bundled electric service (i.e., generation, transmission and distribution service). In the ERCOT area of Texas, our utilities have exited the generation business and they currently charge unbundled cost-based rates for transmission and distribution service. In Ohio, rates are transitioning from bundled cost-based rates for electric service to unbundled cost-based rates for transmission and distribution service on the one hand, and market pricing for and/or customer choice of generation on the other. Historically, the state regulatory frameworks in the service area of the AEP System reflected specified fuel costs as part of bundled (or, more recently, unbundled) rates or incorporated fuel adjustment clauses in a utility’s rates and tariffs. Fuel adjustment clauses permit periodic adjustments to fuel cost recovery from customers and therefore provide protection against exposure to fuel cost changes. While the historical framework remains in a portion of AEP’s service territory, recovery of increased fuel costs through a fuel adjustment clause is no longer provided for in Ohio.
The following state-by-state analysis summarizes the regulatory environment of certain major jurisdictions in which AEP operates. Several public utility subsidiaries operate in more than one jurisdiction.
Indiana: I&M provides retail electric service in Indiana at bundled rates approved by the IURC. While rates are set on a cost-of-service basis, I&M’s base rates are capped through June 30, 2007. Its fuel recovery rate is capped through that time period at a level that automatically increased in January 2006 and January 2007. I&M expects, however, that its actual fuel costs will exceed the capped fuel rates permitted through June 30, 2007.
Ohio: CSPCo and OPCo each operated as a functionally separated utility and provided “default” retail electric service to customers at unbundled rates pursuant to the Ohio Act through December 31, 2006. The PUCO approved the rate stabilization plans filed by CSPCo and OPCo (which, among other things, address default retail generation service rates from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008). The Ohio Supreme Court vacated and remanded the PUCO’s approval of the rate stabilization plans. In response, the PUCO issued an order requiring CSPCo and OPCo to make additional filings and holding that their rate stabilization plans remained in effect. CSPCo and OPCo have submitted proposals with the PUCO addressing the matters identified by the PUCO. Retail generation rates will be determined consistent with the rate stabilization plan until December 31, 2008. CSPCo and OPCo are providing and will continue to provide distribution services to retail customers at rates approved by the PUCO. These rates will be frozen (with certain exceptions, including automatic annual increases in generation rates of 3% and 7% for CSPCo and OPCo, respectively) from their levels as of December 31, 2005 through December 31, 2008. Transmission services will continue to be provided at rates established by the FERC. CSPCo and OPCo have been involved in discussions with various stakeholders in Ohio about potential legislation to address the period following the expiration of the rate stabilization plans. See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements, entitled Rate Matters, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for more information.
Oklahoma: PSO provides retail electric service in Oklahoma at bundled rates approved by the OCC. PSO’s rates are set on a cost-of-service basis. Fuel and purchased energy costs above the amount included in base rates are recovered by applying a fuel adjustment factor to retail kilowatt-hour sales. The factor is generally adjusted annually and is based upon forecasted fuel and purchased energy costs. Over or under collections of fuel costs for prior periods are returned to or recovered from customers when new annual factors are established. In November 2006, PSO filed a request with the OCC seeking an increase in base rates and other rate relief. The OCC has not yet ruled on this filing. See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements, entitled Rate Matters, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for information regarding current rate proceedings.
Texas: TCC has sold all of its generation assets and TNC has transferred its active generation capacity to a non-utility affiliate pursuant to a 20-year agreement. TCC and TNC serve most of their retail customers in the ERCOT area of Texas through non-affiliated REPs. TCC and TNC provide retail transmission and distribution service on a cost-of-service basis at rates approved by the PUCT and wholesale transmission service under tariffs approved by the FERC consistent with PUCT rules. In November 2006, TCC and TNC filed requests with the PUCT seeking increases in the rates charged to REPs for delivering electricity over their transmission and distribution lines. The PUCT has not ruled on the filings. See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements, entitled Rate Matters included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for information on current rate proceedings. In August 2006, the PUCT delayed competition in the SPP area of Texas until at least January 1, 2011. As such, SWEPCo’s Texas operations continue to operate and to be regulated as a traditional bundled utility with both base and fuel rates.
Virginia: APCo provides retail electric service in Virginia at unbundled rates. In February 2007, the Virginia legislature adopted amendments to its previously-enacted electric restructuring law. The amendments would cut two years off of the transition period (from 2010 to 2008) after which rates for retail generation supply would return to a form of cost-based regulation. The Governor of Virginia has not yet signed this legislation. APCo’s unbundled generation, transmission (which reflect FERC-approved transmission rates) and distribution rates, as well as its functional separation plan, were approved by the VSCC in December 2001. APCO’s base rates are capped at their mid-1999 levels until the end of the transition period (now December 31, 2010), or sooner if the VSCC finds that a competitive market for generation exists in Virginia, but APCo is permitted to seek two changes to its capped rates through December 31, 2010. In addition, APCo is entitled to annual rate changes to recover the incremental costs it incurs for transmission and distribution reliability and compliance with state or federal environmental laws or regulations. In May 2006, APCo filed a request with the VSCC seeking an increase in base rates. Hearings on this request were held in December 2006. APCo expects a ruling in 2007. APCo is entitled to adjustments to fuel rates through 2010 to recover its actual fuel costs, the fuel component of its purchased power costs and certain capacity charges. APCo recovers its generation capacity charges through capped base rates. In November 2006, the VSCC approved APCo’s previous request to recover additional environmental and reliability-related costs. See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements, entitled Rate Matters, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for additional information on these matters.
West Virginia: APCo and WPCo provide retail electric service at bundled rates approved by the WVPSC. West Virginia generally allows for timely recovery of fuel costs. In July 2006, the WVPSC approved an increase in the retail rates of APCo and WPCo and the reactivation of their suspended operative fuel clause and other recovery mechanisms. See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements, entitled Rate Matters, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for additional information on current rate proceedings.
Other Jurisdictions: The public utility subsidiaries of AEP also provide service at regulated bundled rates in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee and regulated unbundled rates in Michigan.
The following table illustrates the current rate regulation status of the states in which the public utility subsidiaries of AEP operate:
Under the FPA, FERC regulates rates for interstate sales at wholesale, transmission of electric power, accounting and other matters, including construction and operation of hydroelectric projects. FERC regulations require AEP to provide open access transmission service at FERC-approved rates. FERC also regulates unbundled transmission service to retail customers. FERC also regulates the sale of power for resale in interstate commerce by (i) approving contracts for wholesale sales to municipal and cooperative utilities and (ii) granting authority to public utilities to sell power at wholesale at market-based rates upon a showing that the seller lacks the ability to improperly influence market prices. Except for wholesale power that AEP delivers within its control area of the SPP, AEP has market-rate authority from FERC, under which much of its wholesale marketing activity takes place.
The FERC has jurisdiction over the issuances of securities of our public utility subsidiaries, the acquisition of securities of utilities, the acquisition or sale of certain utility assets, and mergers with another electric utility or holding company. In addition, both FERC and state regulators are permitted to review the books and records of any company within a holding company system. EPACT gives the FERC “backstop” transmission siting authority as well as increased utility merger oversight.
ELECTRIC RESTRUCTURING AND CUSTOMER CHOICE LEGISLATION
Certain states in AEP’s service area have adopted restructuring or customer choice legislation. In general, this legislation provides for a transition from bundled cost-based rate regulated electric service to unbundled cost-based rates for transmission and distribution service and market pricing for the supply of electricity with customer choice of supplier. At a minimum, this legislation allows retail customers to select alternative generation suppliers. Electric restructuring and/or customer choice began on January 1, 2001 in Ohio and on January 1, 2002 in Michigan, Virginia and the ERCOT area of Texas. Electric restructuring in the SPP area of Texas has been delayed by the PUCT until at least 2011. AEP’s public utility subsidiaries operate in both the ERCOT and SPP areas of Texas. See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements entitled Rate Matters for additional information.
The Ohio Act requires vertically integrated electric utility companies that are in the business of providing competitive retail electric service in Ohio to separate their generating functions from their transmission and distribution functions. Following the market development period (which ended December 31, 2005), retail customers receive distribution and, where applicable, transmission service from the incumbent utility whose distribution rates are approved by the PUCO and whose transmission rates are based on rates established by the FERC. The PUCO approved CSPCo’s and OPCo’s rate stabilization plans that, among other things, addressed default generation service rates from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008. See Item 1 - Utility Operations - Regulation—FERC for a discussion of FERC regulation of transmission rates, Regulation—Rates—Ohio and Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements entitled Rate Matters, included in the 2006 Annual Reports, for a discussion of the impact of restructuring on distribution rates. The PUCO authorized CSPCo and OPCo to remain functionally separated through the end of that three-year period. The Supreme Court of Ohio vacated and remanded the PUCO’s order authorizing the rate stabilization plans. In response, the PUCO issued an order in August 2006 requiring CSPCo and OPCo to make additional filings and holding that the rate stabilization plans remained in effect. CSPCo and OPCo have submitted proposals with the PUCO addressing the matters identified by the PUCO. CSPCo and OPCo have been involved in discussions with various stakeholders in Ohio about potential legislation to address the period following the expiration of the rate stabilization plans.
Signed into law in June of 1999, the Texas Act substantially amended the regulatory structure governing electric utilities in Texas in order to allow retail electric competition for customers. Among other things, the Texas Act:
The Texas Act provides each affected utility an opportunity to recover its generation related regulatory assets and stranded costs resulting from the legal separation of the transmission and distribution utility from the generation facilities and the related introduction of retail electric competition. Regulatory assets consist of the Texas jurisdictional amount of generation-related regulatory assets and liabilities in the audited financial statements as of December 31, 1998. Stranded costs consist of the positive excess of the net regulated book value of generation assets (as of December 31, 2001) over the market value of those assets, taking specified factors into account, as ultimately determined in a PUCT true-up proceeding.
In May 2005, TCC filed its stranded cost quantification application, or true-up proceeding, with the PUCT seeking recovery of $2.4 billion of net stranded generation costs and other recoverable true-up items. A final order was issued in April 2006. In the final order, the PUCT determined TCC’s net stranded generation costs and other recoverable true-up items to be approximately $1.475 billion. Other parties have appealed the PUCT’s final order as unwarranted or too large; TCC has appealed seeking additional recovery consistent with the Texas Act and related rules. In a preliminary ruling filed in February 2007, the Texas state district court adjudicating the appeal of the final order in the true-up proceeding found that the PUCT erred in several respects, including the method used to determine stranded costs and the awarding of certain carrying costs. Following the preliminary ruling, the court granted a rehearing of the issue regarding the method to determine stranded costs. That rehearing is scheduled for late March 2007. TCC intends to appeal any final adverse rulings regarding the PUCT’s order in the true-up proceedings.
After PUCT approval, in October 2006 TCC issued $1.74 billion of securitization bonds, including additional issuance and carrying costs through the date of issuance. The PUCT authorized negative competition transition charges in the amount of $356 million in October 2006. TCC is required to refund this amount to its ratepayers. For a discussion of (i) regulatory assets and stranded costs subject to recovery by TCC and (ii) rate adjustments made after implementation of restructuring to allow recovery of certain costs by or with respect to TCC and TNC, see Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements entitled Rate Matters included in the 2006 Annual Reports.
Michigan Customer Choice
Customer choice commenced for I&M’s Michigan customers on January 1, 2002. Rates for retail electric service for I&M’s Michigan customers were unbundled (though they continue to be regulated) to allow customers the ability to evaluate the cost of generation service for comparison with other suppliers. At December 31, 2006, none of I&M’s Michigan customers have elected to change suppliers and no alternative electric suppliers are registered to compete in I&M’s Michigan service territory.
In April 2004, the Governor of Virginia signed legislation that extends the transition period for electricity restructuring, including capped rates, through December 31, 2010. The legislation provides specified cost recovery opportunities during the capped rate period, including two optional general base rate changes and an opportunity for timely recovery, through a separate rate mechanism, of certain incremental environmental and reliability costs incurred on and after July 1, 2004. In February 2007, the Virginia legislature adopted amendments to its previously-enacted electric restructuring law. The amendments would cut two years off of the transition period (from 2010 to 2008) after which rates for retail generation supply would return to a form of cost-based regulation. The Governor of Virginia has not yet signed this legislation.
The public utility subsidiaries of AEP, like the electric industry generally, face competition in the sale of available power on a wholesale basis, primarily to other public utilities and power marketers. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 was designed, among other things, to foster competition in the wholesale market by creating a generation market with fewer barriers to entry and mandating that all generators have equal access to transmission services. As a result, there are more generators able to participate in this market. The principal factors in competing for wholesale sales are price (including fuel costs), availability of capacity and power and reliability of service.
AEP’s public utility subsidiaries also compete with self-generation and with distributors of other energy sources, such as natural gas, fuel oil and coal, within their service areas. The primary factors in such competition are price, reliability of service and the capability of customers to utilize sources of energy other than electric power. With respect to competing generators and self-generation, the public utility subsidiaries of AEP believe that they generally maintain a favorable competitive position. With respect to alternative sources of energy, the public utility subsidiaries of AEP believe that the reliability of their service and the limited ability of customers to substitute other cost-effective sources for electric power place them in a favorable competitive position, even though their prices may be higher than the costs of some other sources of energy.
Significant changes in the global economy in recent years have led to increased price competition for industrial customers in the United States, including those served by the AEP System. Some of these industrial customers have requested price reductions from their suppliers of electric power. In addition, industrial customers that are downsizing or reorganizing often close a facility based upon its costs, which may include, among other things, the cost of electric power. The public utility subsidiaries of AEP cooperate with such customers to meet their business needs through, for example, providing various off-peak or interruptible supply options pursuant to tariffs filed with the various state commissions. Occasionally, these rates are first negotiated, and then filed with the state commissions. The public utility subsidiaries of AEP believe that they are unlikely to be materially adversely affected by this competition.
The sale of electric power is generally a seasonal business. In many parts of the country, demand for power peaks during the hot summer months, with market prices also peaking at that time. In other areas, power demand peaks during the winter. The pattern of this fluctuation may change due to the nature and location of AEP’s facilities and the terms of power sale contracts into which AEP enters. In addition, AEP has historically sold less power, and consequently earned less income, when weather conditions are milder. Unusually mild weather in the future could diminish AEP’s results of operations and may impact its financial condition. Conversely, unusually extreme weather conditions could increase AEP’s results of operations.
Our MEMCO business segment transports coal and dry bulk commodities primarily on the Ohio, Illinois, and Lower Mississippi rivers. Almost all of our customers are nonaffiliated third parties who obtain the transport coal and dry bulk commodities for various uses. We charge these customers market rates for the purpose of making a profit. Depending on market conditions and other factors, including barge availability, we have also served AEP utility subsidiary affiliates. Our affiliated utility customers procure the transport of coal for use as fuel in their respective generating plants. We charge affiliated customers rates that reflect our costs. The MEMCO operations include approximately 2,038 barges, 37 towboats and 10 harbor boats that we own or lease.
Competition within the barging industry for major commodity contracts is intense, with a number of companies offering transportation services in the waterways we serve. We compete with other carriers primarily on the basis of commodity shipping rates, but also with respect to customer service, available routes, value-added services (including scheduling convenience and flexibility), information timeliness and equipment. Since 1980, the industry has experienced consolidation. The resulting companies increasingly offer the widespread geographic reach necessary to support major national customers. Demand for barging services can be seasonal, particularly with respect to the movement of harvested agricultural commodities (beginning in the late summer and extending through the fall.) Cold winter weather may also limit our operations when certain of the waterways we serve are closed.
Our transportation operations are subject to regulation by the U.S. Coast Guard, federal laws, state laws and certain international conventions. Legislation has been proposed that could make our towboats subject to inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard.
GENERATION AND MARKETING
Our generation and marketing business segment consists of non-utility generating assets and as of January 2007, a competitive power supply and energy trading business. We enter into short and long-term transactions to buy or sell capacity, energy, and ancillary services primarily in the ERCOT market. The assets utilized in this segment include approximately 791 MW of domestic wind power and gas-fired generation facilities (of which AEP ownership is approximately 551 MW) and, since January 2007, 377 MW of coal-fired capacity obtained from TNC’s interest in the Oklaunion power station. TNC has entered into a 20-year power agreement transferring this generating capacity to a non-utility affiliate that we operate in order to comply with the separation requirements of the Texas Act. The power obtained from the Oklaunion power station is to be marketed and sold in ERCOT. We are regulated by the PUCT for transactions inside ERCOT and by the FERC for transactions outside of ERCOT. While peak load in ERCOT typically occurs in the summer, we do not necessarily expect seasonal variation in our operations.
In January 2005, we sold a 98% controlling interest in HPL and related assets with the remaining 2% interest being sold to the buyer in November 2005. See Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements entitled Acquisitions, Dispositions, Discontinued Operations, Impairments, and Assets Held for Sale, included in the 2006 Annual Reports for more information. As a result, management anticipates that our gas marketing operations will be limited to managing our obligations with respect to the gas transactions entered into before these sales.
Plaquemine Cogeneration Facility
Pursuant to an agreement with Dow, AEP constructed an 880 MW cogeneration facility (“Facility”) at Dow’s chemical facility in Plaquemine, Louisiana that achieved commercial operation status in 2004. Dow used a portion of the energy produced by the Facility and sold the excess power to us. We agreed to sell up to all of the excess 800 MW to Tractebel. That power agreement is currently being litigated. See Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements entitled Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies. In November 2006, we sold our interest in the Facility to Dow. Negotiations for the sale resulted in an after-tax impairment of approximately $136 million. See Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements entitled Acquisitions, Dispositions, Discontinued Operations, Impairments and Assets Held for Sale.
For information regarding other non-core investments, see Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements entitled Acquisitions, Dispositions, Discontinued Operations, Impairments and Assets Held for Sale, included in the 2006 Annual Reports.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
General Risks of Our Regulated Operations
We may not be able to recover the costs of our substantial planned investment in capital improvements and additions. (Applies to each registrant.)
Our business plan calls for extensive investment in capital improvements and additions, including the installation of environmental upgrades and retrofits, construction and/or acquisition of additional generation units and transmission facilities, modernizing existing infrastructure as well as other initiatives. Our public utility subsidiaries currently provide service at rates approved by one or more regulatory commissions. If these regulatory commissions do not approve adjustments to the rates we charge, we would not be able to recover the costs associated with our planned extensive investment. This would cause our financial results to be diminished. While we may seek to limit the impact of any denied recovery by attempting to reduce the scope of our capital investment, there can be no assurance as to the effectiveness of any such mitigation efforts, particularly with respect to previously incurred costs and commitments.
Our planned capital investment program coincides with a material increase in the price of the fuels used to generate electricity. Many of our jurisdictions have fuel clauses that permit us to recover these increased fuel costs through rates without a general rate case. While prudent capital investment and variable fuel costs each generally warrant recovery, in practical terms our regulators could limit the amount or timing of increased costs that we would recover through higher rates. Any such limitation could cause our financial results to be diminished.
Our request for rate recovery of additional costs may not be approved in Virginia. (Applies to AEP and APCo.)
APCo filed a request with the VSCC in May 2006 seeking a net increase in base rates of $198 million to recover increasing costs, including a return on equity of 11.5%. APCo also requested to apply its off-system sales margins (currently credited to customers through base rates) to the fuel factor where they can be adjusted annually. APCo also requested to retain a portion of the off-system sales margins. In May 2006, the VSCC issued an order placing the net requested base rate increase into effect as of October 2, 2006, subject to refund. In October 2006, the VSCC staff filed direct testimony recommending a base rate increase of $13 million with a return on equity of 9.9% and no off-system sales margin sharing. Other intervenors have recommended base rate increases ranging from $42 million to $112 million. APCo has filed rebuttal testimony and hearings were held in December 2006. If the VSCC denies the requested rate recovery, it could adversely impact future results of operations and cash flows.
Our request for rate recovery of additional costs may not be approved in Texas. (Applies to AEP, TCC and TNC.)
TCC and TNC have filed requests with the PUCT to increase their transmission and distribution rates. The rate requests include the amounts charged for the delivery of electricity over TCC´s and TNC´s transmission and distribution lines. TCC is seeking approval of an $81 million increase, which includes the expiration of $20 million in billing credits that the PUCT required in approving the merger of CSW into AEP. The credits have been in place since 2000. TNC is seeking approval of a $25 million increase, which includes the expiration of $6.2 million in billing credits. TCC and TNC are requesting a return on equity of 11.25% with a capital structure of approximately 60% debt/40% equity. If the PUCT denies the requested rate recovery, it could adversely impact future results of operations and cash flows.
Our request for rate recovery of additional costs may not be approved in Oklahoma. (Applies to AEP and PSO.)
PSO filed a request with the OCC in November, 2006 seeking approval of a $50 million overall increase in base rates, an annually adjusted rate mechanism to recover the expected significant investment PSO will be making in new facilities, several new and restructured tariffs to allow PSO to begin to reduce the relationship between its revenues and its sales volumes, and to implement some demand side management tariffs. PSO´s planned investments over the next five years include new generation facilities ($1.12 billion), new and refurbished transmission substations and lines ($302 million) and new distribution lines and equipment ($582 million). If the OCC denies the requested rate recovery, it could adversely impact future results of operations and cash flows.
We may not be able to recover all of our fuel costs in Indiana. (Applies to AEP and I&M.)
I&M entered into a settlement agreement which the IURC approved in 2005. The approved settlement caps fuel rates through June 2007 at increasing rates during agreed-upon intervals. I&M has experienced a cumulative under-recovery of fuel costs through December 2006. If future fuel costs through June 30, 2007 continue to exceed the agreed-upon caps, future results of operations and cash flows would be adversely affected.
The rates that SWEPCo may charge its customers may be reduced. (Applies to SWEPCo.)
At the time of the CSW merger, SWEPCO agreed to file with the LPSC detailed financial information typically utilized in a revenue requirement filing on a periodic basis in order to demonstrate the lack of adverse impact from the merger. The first such filing was in October 2002 and the second was in April 2004. Both filings indicated SWEPCo’s rates should not be reduced. In April 2006, the LPSC and SWEPCo agreed to update the financial information based on a 2005 test year. SWEPCo filed financial review schedules in May 2006 showing a return on equity of 9.44% compared to the previously authorized return on equity of 11.1%. In July 2006, consultants to the LPSC staff filed direct testimony recommending a base rate reduction in the range of $12 million to $20 million for SWEPCo’s Louisiana jurisdiction customers, which included a 10% return on equity. The recommended reduction range is subject to SWEPCo validating certain on-going operations and maintenance expense levels and the recommended base rate reduction does not include the impact of a proposed consolidated federal income tax adjustment, which would increase the proposed rate reduction. SWEPCo filed rebuttal testimony in October 2006 refuting the consultants’ recommendations. In December 2006, the LPSC staff’s consultants filed reply testimony asserting that SWEPCo’s Louisiana base rates are excessive by $17 million which includes a proposed return on equity of 9.8%. SWEPCo filed testimony in the first quarter of 2007. Hearings are expected to occur in early 2007. A decision is expected in mid-to-late 2007. At this time, management is unable to predict the outcome of this proceeding. If a rate reduction were ultimately ordered, it would adversely impact future results of operations and cash flows.
The amount that PSO seeks to recover for fuel costs is currently being reviewed. (Applies to PSO.)
In 2002, PSO experienced a $44 million under-recovery of fuel costs resulting from a reallocation among AEP West companies of purchased power costs for periods prior to January 1, 2002. In July 2003, PSO filed with the OCC offering to collect the under-recovery over 18 months. An intervenor, the staff of the OCC and the Attorney General of Oklahoma have made filings indicating that recovery should be reduced substantially or disallowed altogether. These filings disputed the allocation of AEP System off-system sales margins pursuant to an agreement approved by FERC. In September 2003, the OCC expanded the case to include a full review of PSO’s 2001 fuel and purchased power practices. The allocation issue was referred to an ALJ. The ALJ recommended that the OCC lacks authority to examine whether PSO deviated from the FERC allocation methodology and that any such complaints should be addressed at the FERC. The OCC conducted a hearing on the jurisdictional matter in January 2005 but has not issued a decision. If the OCC determines, as a result of the review, that a portion of PSO’s fuel and purchased power costs should not be recovered, there could be an adverse effect on PSO’s results of operations, cash flows and possibly financial condition.
The internal allocation of AEP System off-system sales margins has been challenged. (Applies to APCo, CSPCo, I&M, KPCo and OPCo.)
Off-system sales margins are allocated among the AEP System companies pursuant to a FERC-approved agreement among those companies entered into at the time of the merger with CSW. In November 2005, we filed with the FERC a proposed allocation methodology to be used in 2006 and beyond. The original allocations have been challenged in different forums, including PSO’s fuel clause recovery proceeding before the OCC. In general, the challenges assert that AEP West companies, acquired in the merger with CSW, are being allocated a disproportionately small amount of the off-system sales margins. An ALJ in the OCC proceeding and, separately, a federal district court in Texas have each held that the FERC is the only appropriate adjudicator of such challenges. This holding has been affirmed by a federal appellate court. No proceeding questioning the allocation of our off-system sales is currently before the FERC; the OCC, however, has yet to rule on whether it has jurisdiction over this issue. If the FERC or another entity of competent authority were to retroactively allocate additional off-system sales margins to the AEP West companies, the AEP East companies may be required to pay money to the AEP West companies. Any such payments could have an adverse effect on the results of operations, cash flows and possibly financial condition of the AEP East companies.
The base rates that certain of our utilities charge are currently capped or frozen. (Applies to AEP, CSPCo, I&M and OPCo.)
Base rates charged to customers in Michigan and Ohio are currently either frozen or capped. To the extent our costs in these states exceed the applicable cap or frozen rate, those costs are not recoverable from customers.
Certain of our revenues and results of operations are subject to risks that are beyond our control. (Applies to each registrant.)
Unless mitigated by timely and adequate regulatory recovery, the cost of repairing damage to our utility facilities due to storms, natural disasters, wars, terrorist acts and other catastrophic events, in excess of insurance coverage, when applicable, may adversely impact our revenues, operating and capital expenses and results of operations. Such events may also create additional risks related to the supply and/or cost of equipment and materials.
We are exposed to nuclear generation risk. (Applies to AEP and I&M.)
Through I&M, we own the Cook Plant. It consists of two nuclear generating units for a rated capacity of 2,143 MW, or 6% of our generation capacity. We are, therefore, subject to the risks of nuclear generation, which include the following:
There can be no assurance that I&M’s preparations or risk mitigation measures will be adequate if and when these risks are triggered.
The NRC has broad authority under federal law to impose licensing and safety-related requirements for the operation of nuclear generation facilities. In the event of non-compliance, the NRC has the authority to impose fines or shut down a unit, or both, depending upon its assessment of the severity of the situation, until compliance is achieved. Revised safety requirements promulgated by the NRC could necessitate substantial capital expenditures at nuclear plants such as ours. In addition, although we have no reason to anticipate a serious nuclear incident at our plants, if an incident did occur, it could harm our results of operations or financial condition. A major incident at a nuclear facility anywhere in the world could cause the NRC to limit or prohibit the operation or licensing of any domestic nuclear unit. Moreover, a major incident at a nuclear facility in the U.S. could require us to make material contributory payments.
The different regional power markets in which we compete or will compete in the future have changing transmission regulatory structures, which could affect our performance in these regions. (Applies to each registrant.)
Our results are likely to be affected by differences in the market and transmission regulatory structures in various regional power markets. Problems or delays that may arise in the operation of new regional transmission organization (RTO) power markets, may restrict our ability to sell power produced by our generating capacity to certain markets if there is insufficient transmission capacity available to fully support market operation. The rules governing the various regional power markets may also change from time to time which could affect our costs or revenues. Because it remains unclear which companies will be participating in the various regional power markets, or the manner in which RTOs will evolve or the regions they will cover, we are unable to assess fully the impact that these power markets may have on our business.
AEP East companies joined PJM on October 1, 2004. SWEPCo and PSO are members of SPP. In February 2004, FERC granted RTO status to SPP, subject to fulfilling specified requirements. In October 2004, the FERC issued an order granting final RTO status to SPP subject to certain filings.
The LPSC has ordered the utilities subject to its jurisdiction, including SWEPCo, to analyze and submit to them the costs and benefits of RTO options available to the utilities. Certain states in the region have undertaken and released a study investigating the costs and benefits of SPP developing into a RTO that administers energy and associated markets.
To the extent we are faced with conflicting state and Federal requirements as to our participation in RTOs, it could adversely affect our ability to operate and recover transmission costs from retail customers. Management is unable to predict the outcome of these transmission regulatory actions and proceedings or their impact on the timing and operation of RTOs, our transmission operations or future results of operations and cash flows.
The amount we charged third parties for using our transmission facilities has been reduced, is subject to refund and may not be completely restored in the future. (Applies to AEP and AEP East companies.)
In July 2003, the FERC issued an order directing PJM and the MISO to make compliance filings for their respective tariffs to eliminate the transaction-based charges for through and out (T&O) transmission service on transactions where the energy is delivered within those RTOs. The elimination of the T&O rates reduces the transmission service revenues collected by the RTOs and thereby reduces the revenues received by transmission owners under the RTOs’ revenue distribution protocols. To mitigate the impact of lost T&O revenues, the FERC approved temporary replacement seams elimination cost allocation (SECA) transition rates beginning in December 2004 and extending through March 2006. Intervenors objected to this decision; therefore the SECA fees we collected ($220 million) are subject to refund. Approximately $19 million of the SECA revenues that we billed were never collected. The AEP East zone public utilities filed a motion with the FERC to force payment of these SECA billings.
A hearing was held in May 2006 to determine whether any of the SECA revenues should be refunded. In August 2006, the ALJ issued an initial decision, finding that the rate design for the recovery of SECA charges was flawed and that a large portion of the “lost revenues” reflected in the SECA rates were not recoverable. The ALJ found that the SECA rates charged were unfair, unjust and discriminatory, and that new compliance filings and refunds should be made. The ALJ also found that unpaid SECA rates must be paid in the recommended reduced amount. The FERC has not ruled on the matter. If the FERC upholds the decision of the ALJ, up to $126 million of collected SECA rates could be refunded by the AEP East zone public utilities. We have recorded provisions in the aggregate amount of $37 million related to the potential refund of SECA rates pending settlement negotiations with various intervenors.
SECA transition rates expired at the end of March 2006 and did not fully compensate AEP for ongoing lost T&O revenues. As a result of rate relief in certain jurisdictions, however, approximately 85% of the ongoing lost T&O revenues are now being recovered from native load customers of AEP East companies in those jurisdictions. The portion attributable to Virginia is being collected subject to refund.
In addition to seeking retail rate recovery from native load customers in the applicable states, AEP and another member of PJM have filed an application with the FERC seeking compensation from other unaffiliated members of PJM for the costs associated with those members’ use of our respective transmission assets. A majority of PJM members have filed in opposition to the proposal. Hearings were held in April 2006. An ALJ recommended a rate design that would result in greater recovery for AEP than the proposal AEP had submitted. The ALJ also recommended, however, that the design be phased-in, which could limit the amount of recovery for AEP. The FERC has not yet ruled on this matter. Management cannot at this time estimate the outcome of these proceedings.
Rate regulation may delay or deny full recovery of costs. (Applies to each registrant.)
Our public utility subsidiaries currently provide service at rates approved by one or more regulatory commissions. These rates are generally regulated based on an analysis of the applicable utility’s expenses incurred in a test year. Thus, the rates a utility is allowed to charge may or may not match its expenses at any given time. Additionally, there may also be a delay between the timing of when these costs are incurred and when these costs are recovered. While rate regulation is premised on providing a reasonable opportunity to earn a reasonable rate of return on invested capital, there can be no assurance that the applicable regulatory commission will judge all of our costs to have been prudently incurred or that the regulatory process in which rates are determined will always result in rates that will produce full recovery of our costs in a timely manner.
We operate in a non-uniform and fluid regulatory environment. (Applies to each registrant.)
In addition to the multiple levels of state regulation at the states in which we operate, our business is subject to extensive federal regulation. There can be no assurance that (1) the federal legislative and regulatory initiatives (which have occurred over the past few years and which have generally facilitated competition in the energy sector) will continue or will not be reversed or (2) state regulation will not become significantly more restrictive. Further alteration of the regulatory landscape in which we operate will impact the effectiveness of our business plan and may, because of the continued uncertainty, harm our financial condition and results of operations.
At times, demand for power could exceed our supply capacity. (Applies to each registrant other than TCC and TNC.)
We are currently obligated to supply power in parts of eleven states. From time to time, because of unforeseen circumstances, the demand for power required to meet these obligations could exceed our available generation capacity. If this occurs, we would have to buy power from the market. We may not always have the ability to pass these costs on to our customers because some of the states we operate in do not allow us to increase our rates in response to increased fuel cost charges. Since these situations most often occur during periods of peak demand, it is possible that the market price for power at that time would be very high. Even if a supply shortage were brief, we could suffer substantial losses that could reduce our results of operations.
Risks Related to Market, Economic or Financial Volatility
Downgrades in our credit ratings could negatively affect our ability to access capital and/or to operate our power trading businesses. (Applies to each registrant other than AEGCo.)
Following the bankruptcy of Enron, the credit ratings agencies initiated a thorough review of the capital structure and the quality and stability of earnings of energy companies, including us. The agencies revised ratings at that time. Further negative ratings actions could constrain the capital available to our industry and could limit our access to funding for our operations. Our business is capital intensive, and we are dependent upon our ability to access capital at rates and on terms we determine to be attractive. If our ability to access capital becomes significantly constrained, our interest costs will likely increase and our financial condition could be harmed and future results of operations could be adversely affected.
If Moody’s or S&P were to downgrade the long-term rating of any of the registrants, particularly below investment grade, the borrowing costs of that registrant would increase, which would diminish its financial results. In addition, the registrant’s potential pool of investors and funding sources could decrease.
Our power trading business relies on the investment grade ratings of our individual public utility subsidiaries’ senior unsecured long-term debt. Most of our counterparties require the creditworthiness of an investment grade entity to stand behind transactions. If those ratings were to decline below investment grade, our ability to operate our power trading business profitably would be diminished because we would likely have to deposit cash or cash-related instruments which would reduce our profits.
AEP has no income or cash flow apart from dividends paid or other obligations due it from its subsidiaries. (Applies to AEP.)
AEP is a holding company and has no operations of its own. Its ability to meet its financial obligations associated with its indebtedness and to pay dividends on its common stock is primarily dependent on the earnings and cash flows of its operating subsidiaries, primarily its regulated utilities, and the ability of its subsidiaries to pay dividends to, or repay loans from, AEP. Its subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities that have no obligation (apart from loans from AEP) to provide AEP with funds for its payment obligations, whether by dividends, distributions or other payments. Payments to AEP by its subsidiaries are also contingent upon their earnings and business considerations. In addition, any payment of dividends, distributions or advances by the utility subsidiaries to AEP would be subject to regulatory or contractual restrictions.
Our operating results may fluctuate on a seasonal and quarterly basis. (Applies to each registrant.)
Electric power generation is generally a seasonal business. In many parts of the country, demand for power peaks during the hot summer months, with market prices also peaking at that time. In other areas, power demand peaks during the winter. As a result, our overall operating results in the future may fluctuate substantially on a seasonal basis. The pattern of this fluctuation may change depending on the terms of power sale contracts that we enter into. In addition, we have historically sold less power, and consequently earned less income, when weather conditions are milder. Unusually mild weather in the future could diminish our results of operations and harm our financial condition. Conversely, unusually extreme weather conditions could increase AEP’s results of operations in a manner that would not likely be sustainable.
Parties we have engaged to provide construction materials or services may fail to perform their obligations, which could harm our results of operations. (Applies to each registrant.)
Our business plan calls for extensive investment in capital improvements and additions, including the installation of environmental upgrades, construction of additional generation units and transmission facilities as well as other initiatives. We are exposed to the risk of substantial price increases in the costs of materials used in construction. We have engaged numerous contractors and entered into a large number of agreements to acquire the necessary materials and/or obtain the required construction related services. As a result, we are also exposed to the risk that these contractors and other counterparties could breach their obligations to us. Should the counterparties to these arrangements fail to perform, we may be forced to enter into alternative arrangements at then-current market prices that may exceed our contractual prices and almost certainly cause delays in that and related projects. Although our agreements are designed to mitigate the consequences of a potential default by the counterparty, our actual exposure may be greater than these mitigation provisions. This would cause our financial results to be diminished, and we might incur losses or delays in completing construction.
Changes in commodity prices may increase our cost of producing power or decrease the amount we receive from selling power, harming our financial performance. (Applies to each registrant.)
We are heavily exposed to changes in the price and availability of coal because most of our generating capacity is coal-fired. We have contracts of varying durations for the supply of coal for most of our existing generation capacity, but as these contracts end or otherwise are not honored, we may not be able to purchase coal on terms as favorable as the current contracts. Similarly, we are heavily exposed to changes in the price and availability of emission allowances. We use emission allowances based on the amount of coal we use as fuel and the reductions achieved through emission controls and other measures. According to our estimates we have procured sufficient emission allowances to cover our projected needs for the next two years and for much of the projected needs for periods beyond that. At some point, however, we may have to obtain additional allowances and those purchases may not be on as favorable terms as those currently obtained.
We also own natural gas-fired facilities, which increases our exposure to market prices of natural gas. Natural gas prices tend to be more volatile than prices for other fuel sources.
The price trends for coal, natural gas and emission allowances have shown material increases in the recent past. Changes in the cost of coal, emission allowances or natural gas and changes in the relationship between such costs and the market prices of power will affect our financial results. Since the prices we obtain for power may not change at the same rate as the change in coal, emission allowances or natural gas costs, we may be unable to pass on the changes in costs to our customers. In addition, the prices we can charge our retail customers in some jurisdictions are capped.
In addition, actual power prices and fuel costs will differ from those assumed in financial projections used to value our trading and marketing transactions, and those differences may be material. As a result, our financial results may be diminished in the future as those transactions are marked to market.