Kanawha commissioner says Appalachian Power should reduce rates during cold snap

As temperatures dip, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper would like to see something else lower – rates for electricity.

Carper sent a letter to Appalachian Power Co. requesting that the company voluntarily reduce rates during this time of extreme cold weather, according to a news release from the Kanawha County Commission. Carper also asked that AEP seek an increase in its property tax assessment for this tax year.

“The last several weeks we have experienced an unparalleled run of record breaking cold temperatures,” Carper’s letter said. “The new year’s holiday brought temperatures, on average 20 to 40 degrees colder than usual along the eastern U.S. The dangerous cold has resulted in busted water pipes and cracked windows as West Virginia residents struggle to heat their homes and businesses.

“Of course, this record-shattering cold weather is good news for Appalachian Power, as electric bills will be skyrocketing this winter. Undeniably, Appalachian Power will enjoy staggering increases in collections.”

Carper noted that in November he sent a letter to the Board of Public Works to protest Appalachian Power’s request to reduce its property tax assessment. He said Appalachian’s request was based on a mild winter followed by a mild summer in the same year. He said he stated in the letter he intended to request the Board of Public Works increase the company’s property tax assessment if the weather called for it.

“Appalachian maintains that the board should reduce its property taxes during times of mild weather. Following this incomprehensible logic, it is only fair that Appalachian Power’s assessment go up in response to our current historically cold weather. Second, I request that Appalachian Power make an immediate filing with the Public Service Commission seeking to provide a significant reduction in your rates as we are experiencing record-breaking arctic temperatures,” he said.

Carper said reducing its rates would allow Appalachian Power “to avoid unjust enrichment, which will occur if you continue charging ratepayers at the current rates while this unprecedented cold weather persists.”

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