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Local Governments Object To Appalachian Power Rate Hike

Amos Plant
Curtis Tate
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
The John Amos power plant in Putnam County, West Virginia, was saved from near-term closure by the state Public Service Commission.

Kanawha County is the latest local government fighting Appalachian Power’s proposed customer rate increase.

In a filing with the PSC on Friday, the county cites statewide consumer impact: The rate increase would add $18 a month to the average residential customer’s monthly bill.

Appalachian Power wants to pass along the higher cost of coal and natural gas used to generate electricity, a sum of $297 million. It also wants to lower its budget for keeping trees trimmed around power lines by $16 million.

The county officials are concerned that reducing the vegetation management budget, while saving customers a little, could result in more outages due to trees and branches taking out power lines.

Appalachian Power has about 20,000 miles of power lines in West Virginia.

The Kanawha County Commission asked regulators to “strongly scrutinize” the vegetation management request and order a “significant reduction” in the rate request.

Fayette, Boone and McDowell counties also filed objections to the proposed changes.

Appalachian Power is an underwriter of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Energy & Environment Reporter, ctate@wvpublic.org, 202-679-8470, @tatecurtis

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