CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s AARP is shocked by the level of increase being proposed by Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power.
“We understood a revenue increase would be coming,” said Tom Hunter with AARP. “When we saw the number, 226-Million, it took our breath.”
Hunter said his organization expected a rate hike in the wake of the damages from the 2012 Derecho, Super Storm Sandy, and the new requirements for tree trimming, but believes the company missed the mark on a reasonable level for increase.
“I think we understand the challenges utility companies are facing,” said Hunter. “With that said, AARP’s focus is on what constituents are paying and whether that’s fair and reasonable.”
He said for many in West Virginia, the hit would be catastrophic to their household budget.
“The average yearly Social Security benefit for a West Virginia retiree is just a little over $14,000,” said Hunter. “You look at the possibility one bill could be increasing by $240 each year, where do you take that money out of your budget?”
AARP West Virginia will be engaging members and all West Virginians to become involved in the public hearing process as the PSC makes the decision on whether the 17 percent rate hike is allowed to stand or if it will be a far lower figure.