CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, filed for Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) approval of a plan to reduce restrictions on the company’s Fresh Start Fund in order to help West Virginia residential customers experiencing difficulty paying their electric bills.
In 2018, the company earmarked $15 million in savings from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to establish the Fresh Start fund to provide financial assistance on electric bills of low-income West Virginia residential customers. Approximately $1.5 million in Fresh Start funds have already been used to assist eligible customers.
In light of severe financial hardships wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the PSC’s Consumer Advocate Division (CAD) and PSC Staff proposed that Appalachian Power eliminate the low-income requirement for distribution of the Fresh Start funds. In agreement with the PSC Staff and the CAD, the company filed the proposal and requested the Commission’s prompt consideration.
If approved by the Commission, approximately $13 million in Fresh Start funds will be automatically applied to the accounts of residential customers on their past due amounts of more than 90 days or those residential customers whose accounts are already on deferred payment arrangements.
Customers with past due amounts are encouraged to keep their accounts current. The company will work with customers to set up payment arrangements and make appropriate accommodations.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s approximately 17,400 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 221,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 31,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 5,200 megawatts of renewable energy.