This graph shows clearly how much money is available from each WV rate payer to invest in reductions of electricity use in our state. Compare WV’s point in the upper left hand corner, with a residential rate just below 10¢/kwh and about 1100 kwh use/month, with NY in the lower right hand corner, at a residential rate of about 17.5¢/kwh and monthly use of about 600 kwh.
Here’s the rough math on what a WV residential customer would pay monthly if that customer used 600 kwh, as in NY, compared with WV’s current average monthly 1100 kwh. If the average WV customer used 600 kwh/month, he/she would pay an electric bill of about $60 monthly (10¢ X 600), as opposed to the $110 per month (10¢ X 1100) that the average WV customer pays. So WV electricity customers could invest, through their electric rates as they must in a regulated state, up to $50 per month and still end up with lower electric bills than they are paying now.
And those are 2012 figures. Both of the Ohio-based holding companies that control WV’s electric utilities have filed for residential rate increases of up to 22% in recent months. Over the last few years, the WV PSC has ignored evidence supporting aggressive increases in use reduction in WV and has chosen instead to put rate payers’ rate increases into obsolete, centralized coal generators, dependent on expensive to maintain distribution systems.
As I have noted before, the WV PSC and the WV Division of Energy are focused on the wrong number. People don’t pay electric rates. They pay electric bills. Right now, WV rate payers could be investing their electric rates in lowering their electric bills, but WV regulators and policy makers are too busy catering to the needs of the power companies to notice.