GATE CITY — Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, on Friday applauded decisions made Thursday by the State Corporation Commission to cut electric rates for Kentucky Utilities/Old Dominion Power Co. customers in Southwest Virginia.
Kilgore representatives said Friday the rate established by the SCC cuts ODP charges on every 1,000 kilowatt-hours for residential customers from $99.64 to $77.04.
In November, ODP began charging an interim rate increase of a whopping 31 percent for residential customers. The Lexington, Ky.-based utility serves customers in Lee, Scott and Wise counties, particularly Wise County.
Kilgore said the House and Senate Commerce and Labor Committees met jointly on Thursday to hear from the SCC, state Attorney General’s Office and Dominion Virginia Power — a utility unrelated to ODP — on their recent settlements and stipulation agreements dealing with a separate rate reduction matter.
All state regulatory parties testifying at the joint hearing agreed the SCC has significant powers when reviewing public utility rate cases and refunding of rates when stipulated, applicable not only to Dominion Virginia but also American Electric Power’s Appalachian Power Co.
Kilgore said the decision by the SCC will result in lower base rates for ODP customers. In addition, ODP customers will be due a refund for the five months the utility’s interim rate hike has been in effect.
“The customers receiving refunds is part of a 2007 law the General Assembly passed allowing customers to receive refunds when a public utility over-earns,” Kilgore said. “This shows the 2007 law is working and does allow the SCC more latitude than it previously had in addressing the utility companies that are requesting increases.”
Kilgore said the final order by the SCC “will mean (ODP’s) residential customers will pay considerable amounts less than the (31 percent) increase ODP had previously requested. This will bring much needed relief to our citizens in far Southwest Virginia who have been hurt by the increased power rates.”