CHARLESTON — Residential customers could see an increase in their power bills by June 1, 2021 if the Public Service Commission of West Virginia approves a mechanism that allows the company to recover the cost of infrastructure investments.
Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, submitted a proposal Monday to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) to implement a surcharge mechanism for recovering costs associated with infrastructure investments made between base rate cases.
The initial filing seeks an increase of $49.8 million, which represents recovery of costs associated with infrastructure investments made over a nearly three-year period since the companies’ last base rate case filing in 2018. If approved as proposed, residential customer rates would rise approximately 3.5 percent effective June 1, 2021, a monthly increase of $4.94 for a customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours or $8.86 for a customer using 2,000 kilowatt-hours, according to the company’s announcement.
The aim of the proposal is to provide timely recovery of costs associated with incremental investments not recovered through current rates, and to decrease the magnitude and frequency of base rate case filings, Appalachian Power officials said in a statement released Monday afternoon. The recovery mechanism, called an infrastructure tracker, is similar in concept to mechanisms already in place for other regulated utilities in the state.
“The infrastructure tracker is designed to smooth out customer rates by seeking capital investment recovery annually,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and COO. “For customers, that helps us avoid the large jumps in rates that can happen when costs build up over time.”
The proposal calls for capping the amount of any annual increase through the tracker to a percentage of the companies’ total retail revenue, subjecting the tracker to an annual true up for over or under recovery, and resetting the recovery mechanism to zero when new rates from a base rate filing become effective, Appalachian Power officials said.