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SWEPCO rate case before utilities commission Friday

By Ken Hedler
Nov. 16, 2017 at 12:03 a.m.

The Public Utility Commission may be ready Friday to decide a rate increase requested by AEP Southwestern Electric Power Co. that would boost rates an average of nearly 13 percent.

The rate case is on the agenda of the meeting for the three-member commission that starts at 9:30 a.m.

"They may or may not make a decision," said Terry Hadley, utility commission spokesman. "They may want more information and continue the case."

Arthur D'Andrea, whom Gov. Greg Abbott appointed to the commission Tuesday, will be attending his first meeting and may not be ready to rule on the recommendations of administrative law judges who presided over a two-week public hearing in June.

Hadley said any decision on the SWEPCO case requires two votes. Besides D'Andrea, Chairwoman DeAnn Walker and Brandy Marty Marquez serve on the commission.

SWEPCO, based in Shreveport, filed its request Dec. 16 to increase its Texas rates by approximately $69 million a year.

The company sought to cover $34.4 million for additional investment in environmental controls at four major power plants, arguing the investments are necessary to comply with new regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

SWEPCO officials estimated at the time that residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would see an estimated increase of about $10 a month, to $109.55. SWEPCO has about 530,000 customers, including in Longview and much of East Texas.

The rate proposal has gone through review that includes 794 filings on the PUC docket. Several organizations and companies, including Cities Advocating Reasonable Deregulation, the Sierra Club, Wal-Mart, Nucor Steel and Texas Industrial Energy Consumers, have sought to intervene in the case to represent their interests.

The cities group includes Longview and other nearby municipalities.



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