National surveys show consumers’ mood is brightening, and it’s not just holiday cheer. The more positive outlook has a lot to do with the steep drop in gasoline prices since last summer. 2015 holds the promise of more price relief not only at the gas pump but also at grocery stores.
Hotter Summer Brings High Earnings For Columbus Company
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Extreme weather boosted profits at one of the nation’s largest utility companies. WOSU’s Tom Borgerding reports the latest numbers for American Electric Power.
The Columbus-based company says its earnings for the last three months were up 54% percent on revenues of $3,800,000,000. Spokesman Pat Hemlepp says demand for electricity spiked during a period of what he called “favorable weather.”
“Favorable weather for a utility like A-E-P means hot air conditioner weather during the summer months or cold heating weather during the winter months. The utility’s definition of favorable weather is often different than the general public’s definition.” Says Hemlepp.
Hemlepp adds that rate increases in Ohio, Texas, West Virginia, and Virginia helped profits. The company did take a $55,000,000 charge to settle a clean air lawsuit. While that reduced third quarter earnings, Hemlepp says A-E-P can now make its coal-fired power plants more efficient.
“Those efficiency improvements mean that once we make them on the plant we can consume less coal to generate the same amount of electricity. That reduces our fuel costs and helps keep electricity costs under control.” Says Hemlepp.
American Electric Power serves more than five million customers in Ohio and ten other states.