THE RESULTS: American Electric Power Co., one of the nation's largest power companies, said its first quarter earnings edged up 3 percent as cost-cutting and rate increases outweighed a drop in residential demand for electricity that was due largely to a milder winter.
THE RATES: AEP said $200 million in rate increases for this year have already been approved by regulators in its 11-state service area or will take effect automatically. The company said it needs another $35 million in rate hikes and expects that it will be able to implement them.
THE ECONOMY: AEP has more than 5 million customers from Michigan to Texas and is watched closely for signs of how the economy is performing. AEP said it's witnessing better economic conditions in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas, but the recovery is taking more time in eastern states.