PSO Files Reliability Plan Proposal

TULSA, OK, November 4, 2004 – Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) today filed a plan with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) seeking approval to make service reliability improvements to meet new state regulatory requirements and customer demands.   
If approved by the Commission, the Reliability Enhancement Plan would provide PSO with the funding needed to increase its tree trimming program to meet the OCC rules and to launch a plan for placing certain existing overhead distribution lines underground.

Preston Kissman, vice-president, Distribution, shows a map of areas that meet requirements for undergrounding.
“PSO works hard to provide reliable electric service, but the fact is the amount we now collect in our rates for vegetation management is inadequate to allow us to meet the Commission’s new reliability rules and keep the lines clear of trees, given the constant growth of the vegetation in our service area and the expansion of PSO’s electric distribution system over time,” said Stuart Solomon, PSO President and Chief Operating Officer.

Additional funding is needed for us to deliver the increased level of reliability our customers expect and deserve,” he added.Today, the company is seeking interim approval of the Reliability Plan so it can begin the initial steps of the program as soon as possible.  If approved, the company would launch the program to clear PSO’s entire distribution system of trees and other types of vegetation that interfere with power lines, and keep the lines clear through a four-year cycle trim.
Under the interim proposal, PSO estimates the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would pay approximately $2.08 more each month.  It’s estimated the plan will result in an 80 percent reduction in tree-related power outages in PSO-served areas across the state.
The company is also asking the Commission to allow it to place underground certain existing overhead distribution lines that run through the neighborhoods to homes and businesses. This would include areas where the company does not have adequate access to clear, maintain and repair lines.
The company currently collects about $7 million in its rates to pay for tree trimming;  $28.8 million more is needed in the first year of the program.
“This program will transform the future of electric reliability and service improvements for our customers across the state,” Solomon added. 
“A new standard for electric service reliability is needed not only to meet the new Commission requirements, but also to enable electric service to keep up with increasing customer demands,” he said. “We live in a digital age with highly advanced equipment in our homes and businesses. This requires a high level of reliable electric service.”
In a period of constantly rising costs, PSO has held its base rates flat for more than a decade.  And at the same time, we’ve invested millions of dollars in electric plant and equipment over the years to improve our system,” said Solomon.  “But to comply with new state regulations and to improve our system reliability even further will require the additional funding we’re seeking.”
PSO’s interim proposal to enhance reliability calls for a “pay as you go” approach, which means the company will provide the OCC with quarterly reports of the reliability improvement work completed in that quarter.  The OCC would review and approve all expenses before placing those costs onto customer bills.
PSO also announced it has established a toll free telephone number specifically for customers across the state to call and ask questions about the Reliability Enhancement Plan.  That number is 877-627-2371.
PSO, a unit of American Electric Power, is an electric utility company serving more than 505,000 customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma.  Based in Tulsa, PSO has more than 4,000 megawatts of generating capacity and offers some of the lowest energy prices in the United States.
 PSO’s parent company, American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), owns more than 36,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States and is the nation´s largest electricity generator.  AEP is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers linked to AEP’s 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid.  The company is based in Columbus, Ohio.
- Key Numbers -PSO Reliability Enhancement Plan & Ongoing Base Rate Case (PDF: 17KB: get viewer)

- PSO Electric Reliability Enhancement Plan Key Points (PDF: 20KB: get viewer)

Andrea Chancellor, General Manager
Corporate Communications

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