6:00: Morning News

Mon Power approved for rate increase, awaits word on second request

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — The state Public Service Commission has has approved a 1.5% rate increase request for Mon Power and Potomac Edison.

The approval comes as the companies await word from the PSC on another rate case to fund environmental upgrades at the Fort Martin Power Station in Maidsville and Harrison Power Station in Haywood.

Emmett Pepper

The PSC okayed the 1.5% increase late last month. Mon Power told MetroNews it’s still reviewing the order and offered no further comment.

The increase is part of the company’s annual review of its expanded net energy charge.

A spokesman for a consumer advocacy group said the PSC missed an opportunity to help Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers.

Emmett Pepper, policy director at Energy Efficient West Virginia, wanted the PSC to order Mon Power and Potomac Edison to add energy efficiency programs, similar to what is offered by Appalachian Power Company to its customers.

“We know that energy efficiency is cost effective and we hope in the future Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers will get that same benefit that Appalachian Power and Wheeling (Power) customers have,” Pepper said. “Being able to have somebody come to your house to walk through and give advise on what sorts of changes you could make to reduce energy needs- specific to your own house.”

Mon Power offers its customers an online Energy Analyzer tool. The tool guides customers through a list of questions that determines how they can save power.

Pepper also wanted the power companies to collaborate with other agencies to help low-income residents find ways to lower power bills.

“Helping support existing programs that the government has through community action agencies,” Pepper said. “Community action agencies or non-profits in various parts of the state provide weatherization for low income folks.”

According to Pepper, those programs are an important tool to maximize the use of energy, but also preserve generation capacity.

“We know there will be a growth in demand in the future, so we can either plan to pay someone to make more power or we can incentivize people to conserve power or use power more efficiently,” Pepper said.

The PSC approval also includes a requirement by Mon Power to enter a purchase power agreement with Longview Power near Morgantown.

The second rate request under review is for a 51-cent per month additional charge to fund wastewater upgrades to power plants at the Fort Martin and Harrison power stations. The company has said the improvements would allow the facilities to operate into the next decade serving its 550,000 customers.

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