I just wrote a check this morning for my monthly power bill, made payable to American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) in the amount of $260.02.
I'm not alone. AEP serves five million residential and business customers in 11 states.
Rain or shine, that's five million checks that pour in each month. They add up fast. AEP's utility segment collected $14 billion in revenue in 2011. But on closer inspection, the company only retained $2.8 billion in operating profits.
Where did the other $11 billion go?
Well, nearly half ($4.4 billion) was spent on...