El Paso Electric Files New Mexico Base Rate Case; Utility Seeks to Limit Amount of Increase

Apr 23, 2001, 01:00 ET from El Paso Electric

    EL PASO, Texas, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- El Paso
 Electric (Amex:   EE) filed a petition today with the New Mexico Public
 Regulation Commission (NMPRC) asking for an increase in rates to recover
 increased costs of fuel and purchased power.  EPE has requested an increase to
 its base rates in compliance with prior Commission orders, but at the same
 time is proposing a settlement that would substantially mitigate the increase.
 The proposed settlement would reinstate a fixed fuel factor permitting the
 flow through of future increases and decreases of fuel costs on a more timely
 basis.  EPE's current costs to serve New Mexico customers calculated under a
 1998 rate stipulation are approximately $50.8 million.  EPE's settlement
 proposal, if adopted, would limit that increase to $19 million, or about
 $7.60 per month for a residential customer using 500 kWh a month.
     "Over the past 12 months, natural gas prices have risen dramatically,
 affecting the cost of generating electricity for utilities not just in New
 Mexico, but across the country," said James Haines, EPE president and chief
 executive officer.  "In the last six months, other utilities including
 Southwest Public Service Company have filed for increases in fuel costs
 totaling 30 percent or more of an average residential bill."
     "It's important that changing fuel costs be accurately reflected in our
 customers' bills," Haines continued.  "EPE does not benefit from rising fuel
 costs.  Those costs are a pass through only and should costs begin to drop
 below current projections, EPE will seek future adjustments to reflect any
 such drop in price and pass these savings on to our customers."
     EPE's proposed fuel factor settlement would significantly moderate the
 rate increase to our New Mexico customers, more closely track changing fuel
 costs, and keep rates close to the levels of those in Texas (where fuel
 charges have already been implemented).  EPE's settlement offer is contingent
 upon the quick establishment of the requested fuel factor.
     El Paso Electric is an electric utility serving approximately
 304,000 customers in El Paso, Texas and areas of the Rio Grande valley in west
 Texas and southern New Mexico, and providing electric service to wholesale
 customers in southern New Mexico, Texas, California and Mexico.  EPE's common
 stock trades on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol of EE.
 
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SOURCE El Paso Electric
    EL PASO, Texas, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- El Paso
 Electric (Amex:   EE) filed a petition today with the New Mexico Public
 Regulation Commission (NMPRC) asking for an increase in rates to recover
 increased costs of fuel and purchased power.  EPE has requested an increase to
 its base rates in compliance with prior Commission orders, but at the same
 time is proposing a settlement that would substantially mitigate the increase.
 The proposed settlement would reinstate a fixed fuel factor permitting the
 flow through of future increases and decreases of fuel costs on a more timely
 basis.  EPE's current costs to serve New Mexico customers calculated under a
 1998 rate stipulation are approximately $50.8 million.  EPE's settlement
 proposal, if adopted, would limit that increase to $19 million, or about
 $7.60 per month for a residential customer using 500 kWh a month.
     "Over the past 12 months, natural gas prices have risen dramatically,
 affecting the cost of generating electricity for utilities not just in New
 Mexico, but across the country," said James Haines, EPE president and chief
 executive officer.  "In the last six months, other utilities including
 Southwest Public Service Company have filed for increases in fuel costs
 totaling 30 percent or more of an average residential bill."
     "It's important that changing fuel costs be accurately reflected in our
 customers' bills," Haines continued.  "EPE does not benefit from rising fuel
 costs.  Those costs are a pass through only and should costs begin to drop
 below current projections, EPE will seek future adjustments to reflect any
 such drop in price and pass these savings on to our customers."
     EPE's proposed fuel factor settlement would significantly moderate the
 rate increase to our New Mexico customers, more closely track changing fuel
 costs, and keep rates close to the levels of those in Texas (where fuel
 charges have already been implemented).  EPE's settlement offer is contingent
 upon the quick establishment of the requested fuel factor.
     El Paso Electric is an electric utility serving approximately
 304,000 customers in El Paso, Texas and areas of the Rio Grande valley in west
 Texas and southern New Mexico, and providing electric service to wholesale
 customers in southern New Mexico, Texas, California and Mexico.  EPE's common
 stock trades on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol of EE.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X33971089
 
 SOURCE  El Paso Electric