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AEP reports earnings decrease in third quarter

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American Electric Power on Oct. 23 reported third-quarter earnings of $433 million, down from $487 million from the third quarter last year.

Operating earnings in the quarter 2013 were $533 million. Net income was reported based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and includes a pretax $111 million ($79 million net of tax) impairment charge. The charge resulted from a Public Utility Commission of Texas order related to the inclusion of allowance for funds used during construction in the cost cap on construction of the John W. Turk Jr. Plant.

The difference also includes a $33 million ($21 million net of tax) impairment charge due to a Kentucky Public Service Commission order associated primarily with the Big Sandy Plant scrubber project near Louisa, Ky.

"Our strong third-quarter 2013 results demonstrate our continued success in advancing our earnings growth strategy and give us the confidence to increase the midpoint of our 2013 operating earnings guidance," Nicholas K. Akins, AEP president and CEO, said in the earnings release. "We've achieved these positive results primarily from the investments we're making in our regulated operations for the benefit of our customers.

"The contribution of weather to earnings this quarter was slightly below normal and much lower than the favorable weather that we experienced last year. Energy efficiency continues to impact residential load growth, but we were pleased to see an uptick in commercial demand during the third quarter. Industrial sales remain challenged but provide a smaller margin contribution than residential and commercial load.

"We continue to focus on managing costs and making process improvements in our operations and are committed to keeping our operations and maintenance expenses, net of offsets, at essentially the same level as last year.

"The recent approval of the Mitchell generation transfer to Kentucky Power was a very positive development for meeting the generation needs of our Kentucky customers, and we expect to complete that transaction by year end. We are still waiting for a decision from the West Virginia Public Service Commission and are confident that we will be in a position to separate our Ohio generation assets from our Ohio wires business by the end of the year."