CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials with Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power are proposing a double-digit rate increase for the company’s customers. On Monday, the companies — which are subsidiaries of American Electric Power — filed a request for a proposed base rate increase of 17 percent with the state Public Service Commission.

Those with Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power said the increase is needed to recover costs tied to system maintenance and upgrades along with major storm restoration efforts — including the derecho and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 — plus a new vegetation management program.

The filing came two years and one day after the derecho. “We’ve made several operational changes as a result of that and we have not sought to recover costs from that storm or from Superstorm Sandy yet,” Phil Moye, spokesperson for Appalachian Power, told MetroNews.

“Anytime that there are increased costs, it does put a burden on customers and we really try to balance keeping our costs as low as we can with being able to provide as reliable a service as we can.”

For Appalachian Power’s residential customers using 1,000 KWH each month, the proposed 17 percent increase would take their current monthly bill of $94 up to $115.77.

Those with the company said costs have been rising steadily for several years, while base rates have remained the same since 2011. Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power officials said they’ve cuts costs and made reductions to their workforce and implemented an efficiency program, but it has not been enough.

Members of the PSC will have to approve the request. If it’s approved, the increase would generate an additional $226 million each year for Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power. The higher rates could take effect as soon as next summer.

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  • Michael Roder

    “We’ve made several operational changes as a result of that and we have not sought to recover costs from that storm or from Superstorm Sandy yet,” Phil Moye, spokesperson for Appalachian Power, told MetroNews.
    This statement is BS. The company has already spent money for these events. Therefore, they do not have enough money to operate. So they are asking for a rate increase. This means the statement above is misleading to be kind--a lie to be strictly truthful. If this gentleman could make this statement with a straight face, I suggest the company the company stake him to a "Texas hold em" session to raise the money.

  • Cynthia Cox

    Why can't power companies create a different KWH pay scale based upon the economical demographics of the state versus hitting the poorest and richest of areas together? What has these power companies done to educate the government & state institutions so their supply of demand increases do not affect us as residential customers & the rates we pay? Why can't the government &state institutions take the brunt of the rate increases versus that of residential customers? After all - when power outages go out - don't they run & leap to the businesses & more populated areas to resume service than the rural & impoverished communities first? In my experience as a paying customer for almost 15 years - this is how it appears? State & government offices takes power restoration priority versus residents. So why can they not suffer the KWH higher rates? Gracious knows - I guarantee you that no one monitors their supply & demand! What have the jails done to decrease their costs of operations of their supplies & demands of electrical needs too? Every one wants to be fair & partial to rising utility costs but when poor gets poorer & richer are unaffected then how is that efficient or beneficial to anyone. I do everything I can do now to budget our electricity by decreasing our KWH usage from same time last year. I celebrate every month when I accomplish this which even with rate increases - we do it 10 out of 12 months a year. But with a rate increase this high - my husband and I will have no choice but to look into going off the grid for our financial survival on the budget we have to meet for our electrical needs. I commend AEP & all utility companies who try to control their costs internally so we as customers - do not get pinched. But I would suggest the PSC help these power companies to come up with new ways that business & residential customers can save money instead of raising spikes for all of us. Seek to solve the problems they have together using resources state & government & PSC has to offer instead of bucking it back to residential customers. Inflation happens & that is an economical fact - we as customers can not run from - but we must never leave our own self without options to help our selves when their push becomes our shove either. Do what you got too but if you do not how to solve problems without money as the only solution - then can any of them really say they can solve any problem at all?

  • Roger

    I thought they had already been approved for a raise in rates...It was printed in the Elkins Inter-Mountain newspaper last week how much the average rates would increase, and it amounted to around $15.00 more each month for the average user. Is this the same sought after increase or it it in addition too? I hope the Public Service Commission denies or at least cuts this amount way down as most of us cannot afford to pay much higher utility bills each month...Where will it ever end?

  • He Said It

    President Obama: “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them,” Obama said, responding to a question about his cap-and-trade plan. He later added, “Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

  • richie thompson

    bull that were true it may be alright...but the fee that is on the bill every month I was told when I called that it was to recover from the storm two years ago and don't lie to people..either you,re lying or the people that answer the phones are way or the other aep is lying

  • Big Hooptie

    Allegheny Power rarely put money in infrastructure. AEP bought a clunker and the 2012 derecho showed how poor it was. Now they are asking to recoup.

    I was in the power industry for 10 yrs and this is nothing uncommon. However I expect the PSC to say no.

    • Huh

      What are you talking about, AEP and Allegheny Power were in no way affiliated. First Energy is the parent co. that merged with Allegheny, which is now called MonPower.

  • WVU fan in Boston

    If both companies asked for the same percentage range isn't that collusion? Next will come the argument from them that it will cost them millions to conform to the new EPA rulings and or convert to ' cheaper and abundant fracking natural gas'. LOL

  • WhoRThesePeople?

    Every time I see one of these stories I ask the same question, who are these people with the $94 electric bill? I've never had a bill anywhere close to that amount.

    • Rick S.

      Probably someone with an air conditioner. I have compared my electricity usage with the "average" customer, and I use way, way below average Kwh. My electric bills are low in the winter, but routinely above $100 per month in the summer -- and I keep my thermostat around 80 degrees.

  • steve

    There are jails and prisons full of cheap inmate labor that can handle cutting trees

  • totalbs!

    hey guys,
    It's not your job to keep lines clear and do upgrades? That's called business! It's part of your daily work! I do it all the time. Do I pass that along to my customers? NO! It's part of being a business. Prices raise sure, but give me a real reason. This is just pure greed, greed, greed!!

  • kim

    what they need to do is get their workers or hire some company to clear trees and brush off the lines. we lose out power all the time too richard. and when we call and ask why, the answer is always the same....."a tree is on the line or debris has fallen on the lines. this happens all the time in the area of heavenly drive and trace fork area of south charleston.

  • richard

    can't afford what i pay now. and i don't want to pay for something that appalachian is delivering. my electric is off more times than i care to speak about. a little puff of wind and the electric goes out. and i mean out-----takes hours upon hours to get it back on. no sir, i don't care to pay more for something that is bad service already!!!

  • stophating

    I want PSC to be elected by the people.....then raises would only be granted in non election years instead of thrice annually......

  • Mason County Contrarian

    And here we thought that "Friends of Coal (Owners)" license plate was doing us some good. Fracked again!

  • Jim

    I hope that the people of WV will let the PSC know how they feel. This feels wrong in so many ways. The management gets their big bonus and the stock holders gets their big dividen checks, while the customers of AEP, get the shaft. There must be a middle ground where AEP can be profitable and the customers can afford to pay what is reasonable.

    • Rick S.

      According to MSN Money, the current dividend rate to AEP stockholders is $2.00 per share, or 3.61%. So, someone who owns $10,000 worth of stock will receive $361 in annual dividends. I would not exactly call that a big check.