Appalachian Power seeks rate hike to cover fuel costs, vegetation clearing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Appalachian Power Company says it’s seeking to recover $73 million it’s already spent on fuel for its power plants and efforts to keep its power lines clear of trees and vegetation.

Chris Beam

The company, along with Wheeling Power, filed rate hike requests with the state Public Service Commission Friday. If granted, the average customer’s bill would go up about $8 a month, Appalachian Power said in a news release.

Appalachian Power and other electric utilities have what’s called Expanded Net Energy Cost (ENEC), which allows them to be reimbursed on a dollar-for-dollar basis for what they pay for coal and natural gas to run their plants.

“The ENEC amount is mostly for dollars already spent but not recovered in last year’s case when the financial impacts of the pandemic on our customers were most severe,” Appalachian Power President and COO Chris Beam, Appalachian said. “The pandemic has been difficult, and that’s why we suspended disconnects for non-payment for most of 2020 and made it easier to get payment arrangements.”

Beam said the company has used nearly $13 million in Fresh Start tax savings and $7.2 million in CARES Act funding it received from the state to help customers with their bills.

Friday’s filing with the PSC also seeks reimbursement for Appalachian Power’s Vegetation Management Program.

Appalachian Power is seeking another $5 million to cover the costs of its energy efficiency and demand response programs.

If all the requests are granted by the PSC, the customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month would see a 6% increase in rates which is about $8.10 a month. The customer using 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity would see their bills go up about $16.20 a month.

The PSC will set a schedule for the case to be considered.





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