West Virginians Could Face Higher Energy Bills Under Proposed Rate Hike
Monday, July 31, 2023
West Virginia residents' electricity rates have nearly doubled over the past decade - and may soon climb higher, under a nearly $650 million rate hike proposal by American Electric Power.
The company is asking the state's Public Service Commission to increase rates by 37% this year, or by 12% over each of the next three years, or by 3.5% a year indefinitely.
AEP says it needs the money to offset rising energy costs.
Critics like Jim Kotcon - chair of the Sierra Club's West Virginia Chapter - argued that the utility is focused on purchasing coal and natural gas for antiquated power plants, pushed to run beyond their expected lifespan.
"In essence," said Kotcon, "that means that AEP consumers are being asked to help subsidize electricity for the jurisdictions in order to keep acquiring those fuel reserves."
He said if the commission approves a rate increase, households could see higher bills as early as this fall.
Residents can submit comments about the rate-hike proposal online at 'psc.state.wv.us.'
Kotcon said renewable energy sources are much more cost effective than continuing to pay for high-price fossil fuels, especially in the face of extreme weather events driven by climate change.
Tens of thousands of AEP customers lost electricity last weekend after a series of severe storms.
Kotcon added that instead, the utility could be investing in practical solutions to ease the financial burden on its customers.
"We certainly know that energy-efficiency programs would've helped reduce customer bills overall," said Kotcon, "compared to what we're paying now."
According to research by MRO Electric, West Virginia ranks at the top among states for its frequency of power outages.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
Most people probably never give a second thought to their visits to the dentist, but not everyone can navigate this process with ease. People with …
Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, and toy drives around the country are in full swing. A North Dakota organizer shares some things to …
A federal judge in Nevada has dealt three tribal nations a legal setback in their efforts to stop what could be the construction of the country's larg…
Hoosiers could get their holiday trees from any of about 200 tree farms in the state, according to the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association…
Health and Wellness
The holiday season is filled with recipes passed down from years before, and feasting with family and friends. But think again before you have …
Connecticut lawmakers are reluctant to approve new emission standards that would require 90% cleaner emissions from internal-combustion engines and re…
While lawmakers and environmental groups strive to lower vehicle emissions and the nation's carbon footprint, many truckers see unrealistic …
Another controversial move in Florida's education system is a proposal to drop sociology, the study of social life and the causes and consequences of …