AEP’s First Quarter Profit Drops 4 Percent

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Columbus, OH(Photo: AEP)
Columbus, OH(Photo: AEP)

American Electric Power says its first-quarter profit dropped 4 percent as the lingering effects of the recession continue to hurt demand for electricity.

AEP, one of the nation’s largest power companies, said Thursday that it made $344 million, or 72 cents share, for the quarter ended March 31. It earned $360 million, or 89 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Without one-time charges the company would have made $365 million, or 76 cents per share, in the latest quarter.

Like other power companies, AEP has struggled with lower power demand because of the recession. The company said it is seeing signs of economic improvement, but that has yet to be followed by a broad increase in electricity demand.

AEP Director of Corporate Media Relations Pat Hemlepp says if residential demand for electricity began to rise too rapidly, the company would have to spend more money for new infrastructure and new power generation facilities, and that adds more cost to the utility and customers. Hemlepp predicts rate increases are inevitable into the future. (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)