SWEPCO proposes 15 percent rate change for Texas customers

Based on SWEPCO's figures, there was enough demand from the utility's 535,000 customers to...
Based on SWEPCO's figures, there was enough demand from the utility's 535,000 customers to power 1.23 million to 2.46 million houses. (Source: KSLA News 12)
Updated: Oct. 15, 2020 at 10:58 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. - Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, has submitted a request to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) for a net annual increase of $90.2 million in the company’s non-fuel base rates. On a total customer bill basis, the net increase is approximately 15.6%.

If approved, new rates would likely go into effect in the first billing cycle of January 2022.

For a Texas residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month, the request would result in an overall bill increase of approximately $15.71 per month, or 15%.

“We recognize that customers are concerned about their energy costs, especially during the pandemic,” said Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “We continually work to balance customers' expectations about cost and service with the costs necessary to build, maintain and operate a strong and reliable electric system. In the months ahead, the Public Utility Commission and other stakeholders will carefully review our request.”

The request includes investments in generation, transmission and distribution facilities since 2016, plus increased operations and maintenance costs to provide reliable and safe service to Texas customers. It also includes costs related to generating unit retirements, increased tax costs related to accelerated depreciation, and additional funds for vegetation management.

Base rates refer to the costs of building, maintaining and operating SWEPCO’s electric system, including power plants, transmission and distribution lines and facilities to serve customers. Base rates do not include the fuel portion of the customer’s bill, which pays for fuel and purchased power and is a pass-through to customers with no profit to the company.

SWEPCO filed its request at the PUCT on Oct. 13, 2020.

SWEPCO serves 187,600 customers in northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle.