SWEPCO sets new all-time customer demand August 4

SHREVEPORT, La., August 5, 2008 - Extreme summer temperatures of 100 degrees and above and high humidity across Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas yesterday sent usage of electricity by customers of AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) to a new all-time high level. A new “unofficial” peak customer demand was established Monday, August 4, 2008, with a record 4,951 megawatt (MW) load on the SWEPCO system, breaking the old record of 4,924 MWs set last summer on Tuesday, August 14, 2007, when the temperature was 104 degrees.
The record 4,951 MW record load (0.5 percent over the previous all-time high for the summer) was set at 5:00 p.m. Monday when the Shreveport temperature was 102 degrees.  The SWEPCO peak load for 2006 was set on August 16, with a 4,912 MW load when the temperature in Shreveport was 103 degrees.  SWEPCO’s new peak demand is 0.6 percent over the projected load for the summer. A megawatt is a million watts, or enough energy to supply power to about 1,000 homes. SWEPCO is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a regional reliability council with over 50,000 megawatts of electric generation available to serve 4.5 million customers across 40,000 miles of transmission lines in seven states.

Many SWEPCO customers will see higher electric bills because of the hot weather, increased electricity usage in August, and higher natural gas costs. Company representatives will work on an individual basis with customers experiencing difficulty paying an electric bill.  

Customers may want to take advantage of SWEPCO’s Average Monthly Payment (AMP) plan, which allows residential customers to pay approximately the same amount each month for their electric service. Also, the company’s Neighbor To Neighbor energy assistance program helps families pay their electric bills during times of special need, such as extreme hot temperatures or financial emergencies. SWEPCO provides ongoing support by contributing annually to the program during the summer months ($130,000 was given across the company’s three-state service area in 2008). Since the program began in 1993, over $1.7 million dollars in funds generated from SWEPCO and over 10,000 of its customers have helped some 16,500 families in SWEPCO’s service area. Contact SWEPCO 24 hours a day toll-free at 1-888-216-3523 for details on these programs.
SWEPCO’s utilizes Wyoming low-sulfur coal and locally-mined lignite at four of its ten power plants in its three-state service territory for 85 percent of its power generation, with the remainder of its energy needs coming from natural gas.

SWEPCO serves 471,000 customers within a 25,000 square-mile service area. SWEPCO serves 179,000 customers in Northwest Louisiana, 179,000 in East and North Texas and 113,000 in western Arkansas.

Scott McCloud
Corporate Communications