FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Mon Power and Potomac Edison power companies are seeking a $144 million rate increase that would raise the average customer’s bill by $14 a month.
The case was filed Wednesday with the state Public Service Commission. It seeks a $96 million increase in the company’s base rate and $48 million to pay for an enhanced vegetation clearing program already approved by the PSC.
“We’re going to be getting around once every five years to all of the transmission lines, all of the distribution lines and then after we’ve done all of that we may move into a four-year cycle. That’s above all of the tree trimming we have been doing,” Mon Power and Potomac Edison spokesman Todd Meyer said.
A large part of the $96 million base rate increase proposal would help pay for the recent purchase of the Harrison Power Station. The proposal also will finance the hiring of 50 additional workers to improve reliability.
“These are linemen, engineers, supervisors. These are the kinds of people who are dedicated to helping provide reliable service and helping to hook up new businesses,” Meyers said.
A portion of the rate case includes the opportunity for the companies to recover the cost of the 2012 Derecho and Superstorm Sandy.
“We’re looking to collect about 7-point-2 million dollars a year as part of this increase to help pay for those very damaging storms,” Meyers said.
It’s been five years since the companies have had an increase in their base rates. If approved, the average customer’s monthly bill would go from the current $92.62 to $106.79. Meyers said even with the increase the rates would still be 10 percent below the national average.
Rate cases with the PSC often include public hearings and a full evidentiary hearing before the commission makes a decision. The companies hope to have approval by Feb. 2015.
Meyers said the rate case is separate from an ongoing PSC general investigation into billing and meter reading practices of the companies.
Mon Power and Potomac Edison are subsidiaries of First Energy. They serve more than 500,000 customers in nearly 40 of the state’s 55 counties.