Latest rate hike request from APCO to send Kanawha County commissioners to legislature

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says he and his fellow commissioners plan to ask the legislature to step in and do something about the continual increase in utility rates.

Kent Carper

Carper is upset with the latest request by the Appalachian Power Company to the state Public Service Commission. Appalachian Power wants to raise rates totaling $297 million to deal with costs from the pandemic and the surging price of the coal that it uses for fuel. If granted, the average customer’s monthly bill would go up about $18.

“It’s ridiculous,” Carper said during a call to MetroNews “Talkline” Thursday.

Carper said he and fellow commissioners Ben Salango and Lance Wheeler will urge the legislature to do two things.

“Create some type of moratorium that you just can’t keep getting a rate increase every hour and a half and two, maybe we ought to elect our Public Service Commission,” Carper said.

Current state code puts the governor in charge of PSC appointments.

Carper said he understands the argument from Appalachian Power but that doesn’t help most residents..

“I got all of that but at the same time–how about the average person who just can’t take anymore of this?”

According to Appalachian Power, it’s currently not bringing in enough money to pay for its increase costs that’s why it wants the PSC to review Expanded Net Energy Cost.

“With the steep and rapid rise in energy and fuel costs over the past several months, the ENEC revenues we collect from customers have been and are projected to be significantly less than the cost of the energy provided to customers,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and Chief operations officer. “The longer that goes on the greater the deficit grows, and that’s what necessitates this request.”

He added, “It is difficult to make this filing, especially when inflationary pressures are burdening families on so many fronts. However, if the unrecovered ENEC amount continues to grow it will become even more difficult to deal with in the future.”

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