COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ American Electric Power said Thursday that its first quarter earnings more than doubled from a year ago when it took a big charge for pollution controls installed at two West Virginia power plants.

The company said its results were bolstered by a financial settlement reached in January with Tractebel Energy Marketing Inc. In 2005, a federal judge in New York found Tractebel had breached a 20-year power purchase and sale agreement with AEP.

Columbus-based AEP, one of the nation's largest power generators, said it made $573 million, or $1.43 per share, for the quarter ended March 31 compared with profits of $271 million, or 68 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue was up slightly to $3.5 billion from $3.2 billion.

Excluding a one-time $163 million gain from the Tractebel settlement, AEP made $410 million, or $1.02 per share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected profits of 87 cents a share on revenue of $3.4 billion. Those estimates typically exclude special items.

AEP's earnings were dragged down a year ago from work at two Ohio River plants in West Virginia, the Mountaineer Plant near New Haven and the Mitchell Plant near Moundsville, during last year's first quarter as part of a $4.1 billion investment in its power plants to reduce emissions.

AEP also has been helped by higher rates in parts of its service area.

The company said Thursday it received approval in the first quarter to recover costs from severe ice storms that hit Oklahoma in December and January. AEP also said it was seeing benefits from rate increases in Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas.

AEP has more than 5 million customers in 11 states. Among the Texas cities AEP serves are Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Abilene, McAllen, Harlingen, Uvalde San Angelo, Victoria and Laredo.

On the Net:

American Electric Power: http://www.aep.com

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.