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Appalachian Power: Delay In Rate Recovery Means Even Higher Bills

Mountaineer 4.JPG
David Adkins
/
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Appalachian Power's Mountaineer Plant in Mason County, West Virginia.

Next week, the West Virginia Public Service Commission will hear Appalachian Power’s request to recover $297 million from ratepayers.

The price of coal and natural gas has risen sharply since mid-2021, and rates haven’t kept up.

Local governments, residents and large industrial users have recoiled at the prospect of paying more. The average residential user’s monthly bill would increase by $18 if the PSC approves the request.

In written testimony filed to the PSC, Appalachian Power argues that its rates are on par with the national average. It further states that delaying the recovery of those costs now will mean an even bigger increase in the future.

Meanwhile, Appalachian Power is suing its largest coal supplier in Columbus, Ohio, the headquarters of its parent company, American Electric Power.

Appalachian Power alleges that American Consolidated Natural Resources (ACNR) failed to deliver coal under contract to its West Virginia power plants. As a result, the plants ran short on fuel late last year and were idled for prolonged periods of time.

Appalachian Power is seeking $45 million in damages. ACNR has filed a counterclaim, alleging that Appalachian Power failed to arrange transportation for and receive delivery of the coal.

ACNR owns the assets of what was formerly Murray Energy, which filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

Appalachian Power is an underwriter of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

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

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