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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Appalachian Power rates go up
19.3% increase was effective Wednesday
Thursday, December 11, 2008
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
Appalachian Power on Wednesday implemented its new base rates, which jumped 19.3 percent over the previous rates.
Although the rates are increasing, customers will see a decline in their electricity bills. That is because the State Corporation Commission allowed Appalachian to begin charging a higher interim rate on Oct. 28 while its request to permanently increase the rate was heard.
Appalachian estimates the rate change will reduce a monthly bill paid by a residential customer for 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity from about $93.95 using the interim rates to about $90.53 under the new rates, according to a news release.
Under the old rate that was in effect through October, that customer would have paid $77.42, the release said.
Appalachian serves customers in Henry and Patrick counties. Customers in Martinsville are served by the city Electric Department.
The SCC approved the increase on Nov. 17. The new rates will allow Appalachian to increase its annual operating revenue by $168 million. That amount is $40 million less than the $207.9 million base rate increase the company requested in May.
The interim rates were in effect through Tuesday. The revised rates were to be applied to customer bills beginning with those dated Wednesday.
Customers will be refunded the difference between the interim rate and the new rate, including interest, by February, the release said.
Bill Bosta, Appalachian's director of regulatory services in Richmond, said customers should not expect to be see refunds as sizable as those they received after the commission's last base rate case was filed in 2006.
"The interim rates in this case were in effect for a much shorter period than during the previous case, and there is a much smaller difference between the interim and approved rates this year," Bosta said.
"Additionally, we expect the interest rate applied to these refunds will be lower than the 8.25 percent added last year," he said.
The release did not say what the interest rate will be.
The company filed its rate increase request in May to reflect the large expenditures it is making at its generating plants pursuant to environmental regulations and to recover rising operating costs, the release said.
Customers are urged to manage their energy use wisely and to visit the company's Internet site (www.WattWhyAndHow.com) for energy-saving tips and a free home energy calculator that can help explain how to conserve electricity.
Customers who recognize that they may have bill problems or may be unable to pay a full amount should contact the company online at www.appalachianpower.com or by phone at 1-800-956-4237 as soon as possible in order to work out payment arrangements.
Appalachian Power provides electricity to 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It serves about 13,240 customers in Patrick County and 30,700 in Henry County.