CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power are asking West Virginia ratepayers to pay extra to sustain three of the state’s coal-fired power plants.

It’s estimated to cost an extra $54 a year for the average ratepayer.

It’s the subject of a public hearing Friday morning at the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

Back in September, Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power entered a filing with the West Virginia PSC to reopen a case related to cost recovery for improvements to comply with federal guidelines at three of the state’s coal-fired power plants.

Wheeling Power and Appalachian Power are seeking recovery costs for the John Amos plant in Winfield, the Mountaineer Plant, and the Mitchell Plant.

Regulators for the state of Virginia and Kentucky have already rejected any cost recovery hikes for their ratepayers related to these plants.

Now, West Virginians are being asked to bear the cost.

“We think that’s patently unfair because West Virginia ratepayers aren’t the only ones that benefit from the electricity at these plants,” said Tom Hunter with the West Virginia AARP.

The AARP of West Virginia is urging its members to make their voices heard with the PSC.

“A lot of those ratepayers live on fixed incomes and are low to moderate-income families, any increase in their utility bill is going to be a significant increase in their household budget,” said Hunter.

The West Virginia Coal Association for their part is encouraging their supporters to write in favor of the measure.

In a statement to 13 News, Chris Hamilton with WV Coal wrote “Keeping the coal plants is not only the cheapest option for ratepayers, doing so retains thousands of jobs at the plants, maintains a significant source of state and local tax revenue, keeps the local communities vibrant and working and sustains the coal mines that supply them with fuel.”

Utilities want an answer from the West Virginia PSC by October.