AEP Texas units seek approval of $322.7 million in fuel cost adjustments

American Electric Power Co. Inc.'s Texas units Central Power & Light Co. and West Texas Utilities have nearly $322.7 million in requested fuel costs adjustments pending with state regulators. The company blames the increase on rising natural gas prices.


American Electric Power Co. Inc.'s Texas units Central Power & Light Co. and West Texas Utilities have nearly $322.7 million in requested fuel costs adjustments pending with state regulators.

CPL's Corpus Christi area customers September electricity bills will increase an average 11.2% under a fuel factor adjustment approved by a Texas administrative law judge for the state office of administrative hearings.

Subject to final approval by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the fuel factor increase is effective between September 2000 through August 2001. CPL said bills of residential customers using 1,000 kw-hr/month will increase by an average $8.51/month.

The company blamed the increase on an increase in natural gas prices to $4.37/MMbtu from $2.34/MMbtu since January 1999. Natural gas accounts for about 47% of CPL's generation.

The commission is expected to consider the increase in fuel factors, as well as a pending request for a surcharge to collect under-recovered fuel costs, in September. In addition to the increase in fuel factors, CPL also wants to recover through a surcharge about $87.1 million in under-recovered fuel costs incurred December 1999-August 2000.

The $87 million amount requested for the surcharge was reduced from the approximately $96.3 million originally requested as the result of a settlement with participants to commission proceeding considering CPL�s request. That settlement also reduced the total amount of the projected increase in fuel factors from $207.3 million to $173.5 million.

If the commission approves the settlement, the surcharge for residential customers using 1,000 kw-hr of electricity will increase an additional $4.75/month beginning in October and continuing through September 2001.

West Texas Utilities also filed a request with state regulators to recover about $19.6 million in uncollected fuel costs and interest from retail customers in its Abilene area territory. WTU wants to raise the fuel factors used to calculate the fuel charge portion of customer bills to recover a projected increase of $42.6 million in fuel costs that will be incurred to provide electric service in the future.

If approved as requested the new fuel factors would go into effect in October and the new surcharge would go into effect in November. The new fuel factor and surcharge would increase bills for typical residential customers using 1,000 kw-hr/month by $20.53/month between November 2000 and April 2001 with the fuel factor equaling $8.69 and the surcharge equaling $11.84 of that amount.

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