HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – As everyday expenses continue to rise, many are finding themselves struggling to make ends meet. However, Appalachian Power officials say they’re faced with the same struggles and are seeking help.

Spokesperson Phil Moye says they’ve requested a $297 million upward adjustment in its Expanded Net Energy Cost Rate. This would raise electric bills by close to 8.5% or almost an additional $12 a month for a home that uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours.

The Public Service Commission will make the final decision, but first, they held a public hearing in Cabell County, to hear the ratepayer’s concerns.

Many who came forward say they are against this rate hike and that this could be the choice between keeping the lights on or putting food on the table.

“I already live in low income. I can barely afford what I do now. $600 every two weeks. After bills, sometimes I go a week without eating,” says Huntington resident Bethany McComas.

Others say they’re worried about the quality of service they’re receiving now. They believe if they have to pay for a rate increase, it should be to improve on liability, infrastructure, or energy technology.

Huntington resident Eric Singley says “In this case, it’s just a fluctuation in fuel prices which is something that AEP themselves can mitigate for and manage and that’s my biggest issue.”

PSC will meet again at the evidentiary hearing on August 2, 2022, at 9:30 a-m. Following this will be the commission’s final decision on the matter.