CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, will implement new rates for customers as a result of an order from the Public Service Commission of West Virginia. The 3 percent increase approved yesterday is effective March 6 and is the first change in the company’s “base rates” since 2015.
To address the concern customers have around bills during the winter months, the company will implement a rate discount effective December through February each year. With the new seasonal rate structure, customers with higher winter usage, such as those with electric heat, will see little or no increase, or even a decrease in their bills.
Residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) a month will see a $5.38 increase in their monthly bill and customers using 2,000 kWh a month will see a $1.37 reduction in their monthly bill.
The PSC’s order approves a settlement agreement announced last November between the company, the PSC Staff, Consumer Advocate Division, WV Energy Users Group, Kroger, Walmart and other parties.
“The Commission has the difficult challenge of addressing the needs of customers while balancing the economic realities of the state and the financial health of the utilities it regulates,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and COO. “We appreciate the hard work that these groups put in to present a settlement agreement to the Commission that is fair and balances the needs of all our customers – residential, commercial and industrial.”
In the settlement agreement approved by the PSC, the company also states that it will not file a base rate case before April 1, 2020.
To encourage economic development, the company said it will work with the Commission and other interested parties to create an economic development program funded by a combination of customer fees and matching company contributions.
“We are seeking out every possible tool that we can provide to support economic growth in our West Virginia service territory,” Beam said. “In addition to this new program, we recently introduced a new economic development incentive rate for new and existing customers that add a minimum billing demand of 500 kilowatts.”
Beam said the company also provided $330,000 to 22 local economic development organizations as part of its annual Economic Development Growth Enhancement grants, plus has set aside $1 million in tax reform dollars for additional economic development grants.
“Economic growth is key to the success of West Virginia and of Appalachian Power,” he said.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. The company and its AEP affiliates employ approximately 2,300 people in West Virginia, making AEP one of the largest employers in the state. It is also one of the largest taxpayers in the state. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers.