Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, has made a filing to the West Virginia Public Service Commission that, if approved, would result in a 10.9% increase in most residential customers’ electric bill.
On Friday, they submitted Expanded Net Energy Cost (ENEC) and Vegetation Management Program (VMP) filings to the PSC and outlined a proposal to partially offset the proposed ENEC and VMP increases using federal tax reform savings.
If the filings are approved by the PSC, a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would see an increase of $13.88 a month in their electricity bills.
According to Appalachian Power, the ENEC reimburses the company on a dollar-for-dollar basis for coal and natural gas to fuel power plants and for purchased power. The VMP reimburses the company for right-of-way vegetation management, the company said.
“The company is proposing to increase ENEC rates by $82 million and VMP rates by $70 million,” Appalachian Power said in a news release announcing the filing. “These increases are needed to allow the company to recover ongoing ENEC and VMP costs as well as approximately $90 million of unrecovered ENEC and VMP costs already incurred through the end of 2019.”
As a way to moderate the increase, the company said, it proposes to use the remaining tax reform balance of $52 million from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which would result in a net rate increase of $100 million.
The last increase in rates associated with ENEC and VMP costs came in July 2016. However, last year, the PSC approved a 3% base rate increase for customers of Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power.
“Over time costs have risen, and these filings seek to address that reality so that the amount being collected in customer rates matches the amount of costs that the company is incurring for fuel, purchased power and vegetation management costs,” Chris Beam, Appalachian Power’s president and chief operating officer, said in the release.
When asked Sunday about the requested rate increase, Huntington resident Joshua Pinson said it’s tough for those on fixed incomes.
“It may not sound like much money to some but, for me, it means I have to cut back somewhere to get that extra money for the electric bill,” he said.