AEP Files for 17% Rate Increase for Its WV Companies, Residential Customers Hit with a 23.2% Rise

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.

4 thoughts on “AEP Files for 17% Rate Increase for Its WV Companies, Residential Customers Hit with a 23.2% Rise

  1. It is truly a shame that the WV Public Service Commission is more concerned about the utilities it is charged with regulating than about the customers it is supposed to protect. This has resulted in rulings that condone bad behavior and punish the consumer. The net result is that the bad behavior will continue and the customers will have to pay more. Quality of life for WV customers will suffer since WV does not allow other power suppliers to compete in an open and well-regulated market. New businesses thinking about West Virgina as a place to start and people and businesses who are considering relocating to the state may be put off by the reckless behavior of the WV PSC and the state’s rising utility costs.These mistakes will have a chilling effect on the state’s economic future.

    • Don,

      I agree. WV does not have to become fully deregulated for legislators and/or the PSC to allow the development of decentralized power options. Don’t put all the blame on the PSC though. The Legislature holds ultimate authority over PSC policy.

      • Bill: Thanks for your comments. You are absolutely right, the WV PSC is a creature of the Legislature and as such will neither reign in nor redirect the PSC until the utility industry’s money (among others!) releases its death grip on West Virgina politics. Businesses and people will want to come to the state and stay if they believe that they have a voice in what happens to them. Remediating the PSC’s lax behavior towards the miscreants it is charged with regulating will take a strong hand from the Legislature. I hope they will wake up to their responsibilities in time to do something positive for the public.

  2. You can’t candy-coat it any way Bill, it is what it is and we are the ratepayers who make it all happen until we decide to do something completely different. The days of paying (renting) for the inefficient power systems of days gone by are past us now and fortunately we ratepayers have other options with which to make our domestic and business powering choices. I only wish our WV legislators would recognize the change and embrace it for what it is, progress!

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