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.

File photo

The wind was so strong during the June 29, 2012, derecho it doubled over this high-transmission power line standard in West Virginia. Mon Power deferred cost of the Derecho and Superstorm Sandy. It will seek to make up the cost in new rate case.

“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.

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Comments

  • Kitty

    Whatever the final rate increase percentage is, it should trigger a corresponding DECREASE in the compensation packages of FirstEnergy's management. Absolutely NO WAY FirstEnergy's CEO needs to be compensated more than $23M every year while the customers who fund that are living hand to mouth. Equal pain across the board for everyone.

    • I'm honest at least

      +1

  • Bill MC

    Well, there is always a choice; you can turn the electricity to your home--off!

    No one likes increases but they are part of living, everything goes up. The first new car I purchased cost $2,200 now new cars cost ten times that amount. Gas use to cost 25 cents a gallon, has that gone up? There will always be the poor, middle class, and wealthy, unless Obama gets his way of everyone being equal, then you won't have to worry about the price of anything, because there will be no one willing to work to produce anything. Why would anyone be willing to work hard if there was no chance of improving your standard of living? The people that go to work every day do it for their families not for the family next door or down the street.

    As for me as long as I can afford cable I will have electricity and electricity will be the last utility eliminated from my monthly bills. Just one more thought how many people complaining about the price of food and electricity; have no problem buying several five dollar cigarette packs a week?

  • Mr. Berns

    Greedy!

  • John

    "Its been five years since the companies have an increase in their base rates"....Then I wonder why I am paying about 35% more now than five years ago, and the average kw hours are very near the same. Hopefully the Public Service Commission will trim this rate request down. One thing that the article lacks is reporting the amount of profit these companies made each of the past five years, which is staggering. Just wait until Obama's EPA shuts down all the coal powered plants, and then the price of natural gas escalates then we will really see price increases. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

  • B

    I'd go for a temporary increase if it were put toward moving all lines underground. Then they wouldn't have to worry about storms.

  • BlaiddPoetess

    that's all they do raise, raise, raise bills and min wage goes up very little. it's ridiculous!!

    • Roger

      Then do something with your life and get off of min wage.

  • ViennaGuy

    I don't see why the ratepayers should be forced to cover the cost of buying Harrison. The decision to transfer Harrison from First Energy to Monongahela was made to inflate FE's profit and loss statement.

  • Concerned

    Who are these people with an average monthly power bill of $92.62? Most people I talk to have bills double that or more.

  • JMB

    What's new? These days the middle class has a permanent hunch back from being bent over constantly.

  • Jonus Grumby

    If they had not abandoned their maintenance program of clearing vegetation from the lines many years ago, they wouldn't have the problem to the level there is today. Up until last year, it had been well over 10 years since I've seen anything done about trees growing in the vicinity of power lines. For the first time in years, I saw numerous places where trees were being cleared away last summer. As a result of ignoring the problem for so long, it had literally grown out of control as evidenced by the Derecho a couple of years ago. And now we're expected to pay for the lack of maintenance. Thanks a lot.

    • Electric man

      They didn't abandon their program, they were likely using a reliability based vegetation management program, where they would cut the areas they were having the most trouble with trees. I can guarantee you there has never been a time in recent history when they were not cutting somewhere, it just may not have been near you. As for the Derecho, most of the outages that resulted from that storm were from trees that fell from well outside of the utility companies rights-of-way, and would not have been cut regardless of the last time the line was cleared. Most distribution line rights-of-way are anywhere from 30-60' wide, most trees in WV are 80-100' tall, you do the math.

  • Fedup

    This is a bunch of bull. We pay enough now. Rich get richer. Poor get poorer. Enough already give the poor people a break.

    • Roger

      Pretty sure the poor get plenty of breaks.... the middle class needs the break. NOT the poor.

    • BlaiddPoetess

      agreed!

  • The Answer

    That Meyer guy makes it sound like they doing their customers a favor by not asking for the other 10 percent.
    Whopee!!!!!!!!

  • I'm honest at least

    I wish I owned a power plant I could sell to myself at a inflated price and get everyone else to pay for it.

  • Johnson

    Aren't we paying enough as it is? I urge the people responsible for delegating this decision to please turn it down!!

  • epeer

    Aren't storms part of the risk of being in the electric provider business. Also, what happens to the money after they recover the costs from the storm? Rate DECREASE? Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

    • Honest Abe

      I would like for Mon-Power to explain why the reduction of lineman by 50 %. Reliable service and storm restoration is dependent on local personnel to complete the restoration. They hire outside utility workers that have no idea of problems and the customers are without power for days longer than necessary. Hundreds of lineman from other companies just set and collect money while the customers suffer. Mon-Power, hire back to staffing levels in 1994 and tree trimming will get done and power will get restored. Everyone will benefit and I will then support a rate increase because we will have customer service again.