Starting on March 6, 2019, Appalachian Power will be implementing a rate increase. The three-percent hike was approved and ordered by the Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia on Feb. 27, 2019. According to a release from Appalachian Power this is the first change in “base rates” since 2015.
Along with the increase, the company has also addressed concerns about increased bills over the winter. To assist people who use more power in the winter, they are implementing a rate discount from December through February.
Residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) will see an increase of $5.38 in their monthly bill. Those who use 2,000 kWh will see a $1.37 decrease.
The PSC’s order also approved a settlement agreement between the PSC Staff, Consume Advocate Division, West Virginia Energy Users Group, Kroger, Walmart and other parties. This agreement was announced in November 2018.
“The Commission has the difficult challenge of addressing the needs of customers while balancing the economic realities of the state and the financial health of the utilities it regulates,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and COO. “We appreciate the hard work that these groups put in to present a settlement agreement to the Commission that is fair and balances the needs of all our customers – residential, commercial and industrial.”
As a part of the settlement agreement, the company stated is will not file a base rate case before April 1, 2020. Appalachian Power has also agreed to work with the Commission to create an economic development program. The company already provided $330,000 to 22 local economic development organizations as a part of its annual Economic Development Growth Enhancement grants. Additionally, $1 million was set aside in tax reform dollars for additional grants.
“We are seeking out every possible tool that we can provide to support economic growth in our West Virginia service territory,” Beam added. “In addition to this new program, we recently introduced a new economic development incentive rate for new and existing customers that add a minimum billing demand of 500 kilowatts.”
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. It is a unit of American Electric Power which employs 2,300 people in West Virginia.