Yesterday, Ohio-based holding company AEP filed for a 17% base rate increase at the WV PSC for its APCo and Wheeling Power subsidiaries. Here is the initial document that the company filed. The additional testimony with the details was not available yesterday, but about 20% of the increase will come from cost recovery from the new right of way maintenance program required by the PSC last year.
Paul Nyden has a story in today’s Charleston Gazette that provides a little more detail on the rate increase. The increase will fall hardest on residential customers and will amount to a 23.2% rate increase, while industrial and commercial customers will get away with lower rates. The 17% noted in the company’s PSC filing is only an average across all rate classes.
$180 million of the increase will come from new costs added to the company’s rate base for which it is allowed to charge customers under WV law. The initial filing did note that AEP wants to shift cost recovery for transmission charges from ENEC cases to base rate cases. It is not clear what that means, but it could refer to how the company recovers charges levied by PJM for regional transmission projects like TrAIL and the Susquehanna-Roseland line.
Ohio company FirstEnergy has recently filed a base rate case requesting a 17.2% increase. It looks like coal-fired centralized generation is no longer the great deal it once was in WV.
The WV Legislature has left WV citizens at the mercy of these two Ohio holding companies. Legislators have failed to pass real integrated resource plan laws or energy efficiency standards that would reduce WV electric bills, even as electric rates rise. The failure of the Legislature to pass incentives for the development of residential and business solar power has also trapped WV electric customers in the grip of the state’s two Ohio-based electric companies.