Appalachian Power’s Rate Requests Lead to 35% Surge in Bills Since 2021

Appalachian Power's Rate Requests Lead to 35% Surge in Bills Since 2021

Appalachian Power (APCo) asked for another rate hike on March 31, which means that monthly bills could go up for some customers.

The Virginia General Assembly changed how APCo sends in its rate reviews so that they are now sent in every two years instead of every three years. The most recent rate plan is part of APCo’s review which happens every two years.

According to the plan, APCo monthly payments would bring in an extra $95 million, or 5.1%. That would mean that users who use 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) would have to pay an extra $10 each month.

This happens just a few months after the State Corporation Commission agreed to APCo’s plan to raise rates every three years, which caused bills to go up by about $16 per 1,000 kWh.

They have asked to change base, gearbox, and fuel rates ten times in the last four years. People who chose seven of the options ended up paying more for their electricity bill.

It is okay for Appalachian Power to make a 9.5% profit. The State Corporation Commission will decide if APCo’s most recent plan to make a 10.8% profit can go forward. The State Corporation Commission says that buyers can get their money back if the company is found to have made too much profit.

A group of two new State Corporation Commissioners, Samuel Towell and Kelsey Bagot, will hear this APCo rate case as their first.

Since 2021, APCo’s monthly bills have gone up by 35%. Three years ago, a person who used 1,000 kWh would have paid $117.09 a month. It takes $171.99 to use the same amount of energy in April 2024.

The company has raised the base rate twice, the transfer rate three times, and the fuel rate twice since 2020. WDBJ7 asked a representative for Appalachian Power why the company wanted to make more money. A reply was sent to us by email.

“Our customers count on us to give them the energy they need.” A company spokesperson said, “The price hikes are necessary to make sure the company can continue to meet customer needs by providing safe and reliable service.” “We are aware that this review is happening at a time when prices for goods and services are going up, including the cost of electricity.” Every day, we work hard to keep costs down and make things easier for customers.

APCo did not have anyone available for a live chat about the proposed rate increase.

APCo said that the extra cost on a customer’s bill will go toward making and distributing electricity as well as covering the cost of cutting down trees in the company’s right-of-way if the rate increases are passed every two years.

The electric company also said that the rate hikes were caused by higher interest rates, higher material and labor costs, rising capital costs, and the need to recover investments made to the company’s power plants and distribution systems.

The State Corporation Commission said there is no set date for deciding on the most recent rate increase every two years. However, APCo’s request says the customer increase will happen by January 2025.

We were told that Appalachian Power gives away free energy assessment programs to help people use less energy and pay less for it.

Target 7 is going to look into how useful these exams are and whether they make a difference in your bill after all the recent rate hikes.

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