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Appalachian Power, Wheeling Power file rate increase request

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Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power filed for a 4.4 percent rate increase March 4 to cover their annual expanded net energy cost, or ENEC.

The companies also asked the PSC for authority to transfer half ownership of the Mitchell power plant near Moundsville from AEP Generation Resources to Wheeling Power, and they filed proposals for consumer-oriented energy conservation programs.

Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power are operating units of American Electric Power.

The two companies' ENEC filing with the Public Service Commission seeks reimbursement of past and ongoing costs of fuel, primarily coal, and purchased power.

The companies asked for a $68 million increase in the ENEC to account for the difference between the amount currently being collected and projected expenditures through the next annual filing period. For a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month, the request brings the monthly bill to $98.14, up 4.4 percent from the current bill of $94, according to a statement issued by AEP.

According to AEP, the ENEC is primarily made up of variable costs that fluctuate. According to Appalachian Power, the PSC approved ENECs of $9.676 in July 2011 and again in July 2012. The PSC approved an ENEC of 9.4 in September 2013. The 2013 ENEC resulted in a 3 percent decrease. The proposed 2014 ENEC represents rates that are 1.4 percent higher than rates from the 2011 and 2012 ENEC cases.

Regarding the Mitchell transfer, AEP wants to transfer half ownership of the Mitchell plant to Wheeling Power by June 30. Mitchell has two 800-megawatt, fully scrubbed coal-fired generating units. AEP says the transfer would secure a reliable, low-cost source of electricity for Wheeling Power customers.

The annual energy review includes several new programs AEP wants to introduce to help customers reduce their electricity consumption. Residential programs include an appliance recycling program in which customers can turn in their old refrigerators and freezers and receive a $50 rebate. Another new program would provide customers credits to their bills when they allow the company to cycle their air conditioning units when electricity demand is at its highest. Also, LED bulbs would be added to the instant rebate customers receive when purchasing energy-efficient light bulbs at major retailers.