Hearing underway for Appalachian Power to determine rate increase
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Fuel costs do not only affect gas prices at the pump; they can impact electric bills too.
Appalachian Power Company spokesperson Phil Moye said the company is citing rising fuel costs as the reason for a $297-million-dollar rate increase request to the Public Service Commission.
“At this point last year to this time this year there has just been a steep rise in the cost of fuel whether that is coal, gasoline, natural gas,” Moye said.
The Public Service Commission began the first day of the hearing to either approve or deny that rate increase.
“We believe that we have acted prudently in the purchase of fuel and some others that you may hear in here today ... so, that is a big question that is being debated and answered today,” Moye said.
The rate increase would affect the part of a customer’s monthly bill called the ENEC which covers the company’s energy cost.
If the request is approved, the average cost for electricity will go up about $18 to $19 per month for the average 1,000 kilowatts of power. However, Moye said many households use more that 1,000 kilowatts.
“Our cost for fuel has gone up just like everybody else’s costs are going up,” Moye said. “That is a real problem for our customers. They go to the grocery store, and the costs have risen. They go to the gas station, and the costs have risen, and this is just another think on top of that.”
Robert Williams with the Consumer Advocate Division of the Public Service Commission spoke at the hearing, opposing the rate increase.
“We are saying the commission has already given them $93 million,” Williams said.
Williams said agencies opposing the increase, including the Consumer Advocate Division, were seeking answers on how the company purchased energy to provide power.
“While the plants were down, of course they had to purchase their energy from PJM, and that is what has driven this large request that they have made,” Williams said.
He said while Appalachian Power has fuel costs they are looking to recoup, it should be over a period of time.
The Public Service Commission will make the final decision after the hearings are finished.
The request for an increase comes after the Public Service Commission approved a $93 million increase earlier this year which also raised customer rates.
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