MOUNDSVILLE - Plummeting temperatures during the first three months of this year led American Electric Power customers to use more energy - thereby increasing the company's profits.
The Columbus, Ohio-based power company reported first quarter earnings of $560 million, compared to $363 million last year. AEP operates the coal-fired Kammer and Mitchell Plants in Marshall County, as well as the Cardinal Plant in Brilliant.
"We experienced the coldest temperatures in 35 years during the first quarter, which led to strong residential and commercial demand for the period," Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and CEO said in announcing his firm's earnings. "Even when this demand is adjusted for weather, we saw improvement across residential and commercial customer classes for the second consecutive quarter."
"Our strong performance reflects the continued execution of the earnings growth strategy we began in 2013. We've successfully worked with regulators to focus on strategic investments in infrastructure and system improvements to benefit our customers," he added.
Preparing to shut down the Kammer Plant by June 2015, AEP is making moves to compensate for the loss of power by upgrading its transmission lines, including one spanning 5.9 miles through both Ohio and Marshall counties. The company is upgrading the Brues-Sand Hill line, which serves customers in the Bethlehem, Mozart, Elm Grove, Cedar Rocks and Sand Hill areas. It runs from the Brues substation, located near the border of Benwood and South Wheeling along W.Va. 2, to Sand Hill in Marshall County.
AEP Ohio, Wheeling Power, Appalachian Power, Kentucky Power and AEP Generation Sources are all subsidiaries of Columbus, Ohio-based corporate parent, AEP. The coal-fired Mitchell plant is 43 years old, but had scrubbers installed in 2007.