The Williamson Daily News reports that Sen. Truman Chafin from Mingo County wants the WV PSC to reject AEP’s new 17% base rate increase. Mr. Chafin is trying to present himself as the champion of the little guy by complaining about the high salaries paid to AEP executives.
Unfortunately, Sen. Chafin, who was once a leader of the Democratic Party in the WV Legislature, doesn’t seem to understand WV law. WV law requires that our state’s licensed electric monopolies are entitled to recover all their costs of doing business, including capital costs and a reasonable return on equity for their investments. Sorry, Sen. Chafin, AEP will get a rate increase this year. It might not be 17%, but it will be significant.
For the last few years, legislation has been proposed at the Legislature to create real integrated resource planning (not the fake FirstEnergy bill that passed the Legislature last year), a real renewable portfolio standard and an energy efficiency standard that would have enabled electric customers in WV to reduce their electric bills. Where was Sen. Chafin when these bills were stuck in various committees in 2010 through 2013? Was he urging his colleagues to support them? Was he taking a leadership position, along with Del. Mike Manypenny, Del. Barbara Fleischauer, Del. Tim Manchin and Sen. John Unger?
And where was Sen. Chafin as both FirstEnergy and AEP dumped their obsolete coal burners on WV customers? Was he ” urging all of his Senate colleagues to voice their opposition” to these rate increases designed to bail out WV’s electric monopolies?
While I welcome Sen. Chafin’s concern for WV electric customers, I will only take him seriously when he talks about real solutions, instead of ranting and raving just to hear his own voice.