El Paso Electric (EPE) creates currents along the Rio Grande River. The utility transmits and distributes electricity to some 392,000 customers in West Texas and southern New Mexico. More than half of the company's sales come from its namesake city and nearby Las Cruces, New Mexico. The firm has 1,852 MW of nuclear, fossil-fuel, and wind-based generating capacity. EPE also purchases power from other utilities and marketers, and sells wholesale power in Texas and New Mexico, as well as in Mexico. Its largest customers include military installations such as Fort Bliss in Texas and White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Facilities include a 16% interest in the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Wintersburg, Arizona; a 7% interest in the Four Corners Station in northwestern New Mexico; the Rio Grande Power Station in Sunland Park, New Mexico; the Newman Power Station; the Copper Power Station in El Paso; and the Hueco Mountain Wind Ranch in Hudspeth County, Texas.
In 2012 about 45% of the company's energy capacity came from nuclear power, and 32% from natural gas. Other energy sources include purchased power (around 15%), coal (6%), and wind turbines (1%).
Sales and Marketing
EPE distributes electricity to retail customers principally in El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico (representing 62% and 12%, respectively, of retail revenues in 2012). Its wholesale operations also resell to other electric utilities and power marketers.
Principal industrial, public sector, and other large retail customers include military installations (including Fort Bliss in Texas and White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico), oil refineries, two large universities, and steel production and copper refining facilities.
A growth in customers and higher power demand (prompted by an improving economy and colder-than-usual winter weather) helped to lift revenues in 2011 by about 5% and net income by 3%. However, revenues fell 7% and its net income declined 12% in 2012.
The declines in 2012 were driven by a 20% drop in fuel revenues and a 2% decline in non-fuel base revenues, as a result of decreased consumption by several large commercial and industrial customers. Off-system sales also decreased 7% in 2012 as a result of lower average market prices for power.
To encourage conservation and a greener energy profile (to meet state and federal carbon emission regulations) EPE's Renewable Energy Program gives incentives to customers using power generated from renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, solar, and wind. The El Paso Solar Photovoltaic Pilot Program pays incentives to customers who install solar panels at their homes. In 2012 the company opened a 37kW solar installation to the rooftop of its corporate headquarters in downtown El Paso.
To keep up with a growing population, EPE is building new power plants. In 2013 it finished a $75 million expansion of its Rio Grande Power Station near El Paso, It also plans to build a 176 MW natural gas-fired plant in El Paso. That unit is scheduled to begin producing power in 2014.
GAMCO Investors and T. Rowe Price Associates own about 20% of the company.