What Are West Virginia AEP Customers Saying About AEP's Proposed Rate Increase?
The Public Service Commission is hosting meetings across the state as American Electric Power asks to raise electric rates on customers. Wednesday they heard from folks in McDowell County, many of which, oppose the rate increase. On Thursday they were in Mercer County.
Folks at the meeting expressed concerns about:
- Reliability of Service
- Tree Cutting and Removal
- Equipment and Supplies
- AEP Executive Salaries
- Elderly Budgets
- Poor Economy Due Partially to Job Loss in Coal Industry
- Other More Pressing Needs for Public Offices
- Crumbling Infrastructure
Allison Barker, Spokesperson for Appalachian Power, which serves Southern West Virginia, points out that the power company is asking for customers to pay more to improve reliability of the service.
“Anyone who was in West Virginia,” Barker said, “remembers 2012 and the derecho and Superstorm Sandy just a few months later. So we’re still trying to recover from that and repair our infrastructure this increase will help us address that.”
AEP is also proposing to use the money to create a program to clear trees on a regular cycle.
Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power, both units of American Electric Power, want to increase rates an average of 17 percent to customers across the board but for residents the utility proposes a 22 percent increase and about 10-12 percent increase on commercial or industrial rates.
According to a release, AEP employs about 2,500 people in the state.
Chairman Michael Albert of the West Virginia Public Service Commission said during the meeting that the AEP will get approval for an increase, but not the full amount.
The public is invited to attend the remaining meetings:
- November 13, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. at the Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington
- November 20, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. at the Ohio County Courthouse, City-County Complex in Wheeling
- January 12, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. at the PSC Office 201 Brooks Street Charleston
Chairman Albert says a decision should be made by Spring 2015 after the cold winter months.