A coalition of Southwest Virginia legislators this week applauded a State Corporation Commission recommendation that would dramatically cut a rate increase for customers of Appalachian Power Company.
SCC Hearing Examiner Alexander F. Skirpan has recommended that Appalachian be authorized an increase in annual operating revenue of 3.9 percent rather than the 25.4 percent now in effect on an interim basis.
Skirpan determined that Appalachian's base rates should increase by approximately $75.9 million and be offset by a $45.3 million fuel rate credit. If his recommendation is approved, the monthly bill for a customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity would increase $2.33 rather than the $13.66 currently in effect - a difference of $11.33.
Participants in the proceeding have 21 days to comment on the hearing examiner's report. The SCC can accept, reject or modify the findings of the hearing examiner.
Appalachian Power serves approximately 500,000 customers in all or parts of 31 counties in Southwest Virginia.
"This morning, I was informed by the Attorney General's Office that the SCC's hearing examiner had made an initial recommendation that APCo's rate hike be reduced dramatically," Delegate Bill Carrico, R-Fries, said Tuesday. "While this is not final, it is a giant step in the right direction."
"I would like to thank everyone who has stepped forward for the people of Southwest Virginia," Carrico said. "Attorney General Bob McDonnell has led the charge, along with my coalition of legislators in the area. But most of all, thanks to the citizens who continue to speak out through phone calls, e-mails and our Web site. We haven't yet reached a final solution, but we're getting closer to relief for the people of this area."
Carrico's online petition, found at www.aepaction.org, has been visited over 25,000 times in just two weeks. His coalition includes Sen. Philip Puckett, Sen. William Wampler Jr., Delegate Joe Johnson, Delegate Bud Phillips and Delegate Terry Kilgore.