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No increase in APCo base rate

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Appalachian Power submitted filings Monday with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) that will hold steady the company’s base rate for the next two years, according to a news release.

The company, which serves customers in Henry and Patrick counties and elsewhere, also asked to lower customer rates by 1 percent in a separate rate adjustment clause (RAC) filing, the release said.

Appalachian’s current base rates were approved in 2011. In its biennial filing Monday, costs from 2012 and 2013 were examined, the release said. Despite additional and unexpected costs of $55 million to restore service to customers following the derecho, a widespread ice storm and other severe weather events, the company will not request a base rate increase, the release said.

The base rate makes up about 67 percent of a customer’s total bill.

“Our employees have worked hard to reduce costs throughout the company,” said Charles Patton, president and chief operating officer. “In fact, right now we’re undergoing an intensive efficiency effort to evaluate our work processes and add value to our customers. That has helped us achieve the goal to keep base rates level.”

The other rate-related case filed Monday requests a reduction in the RAC that recovers the company’s incremental participation costs in Virginia’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program. Due primarily to the company’s optimization of renewable energy credits for contracted wind generation, customers should realize a RPS-RAC reduction of about $16 million, according to the release.

The reduction, if approved by the SCC, will amount to a customer bill decrease of about 1 percent and will be implemented in early 2015, the release said.

Included in the biennial case were requests for the approval of the two new programs designed to help reduce energy use. An energy efficiency program focuses on lower income customers who often have few resources or opportunity to invest in efficient homes or technology. Appalachian proposes to work with weatherization agencies in the region to provide home energy services to these households.

Another part of this program will distribute compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) via area food banks.

A proposed demand response program rewards residential power reduction during peak demand periods by offering a monetary incentive in return for installation of a load control device on customers’ homes. The device will allow the company to reduce demand by cycling central air conditioners and heat pumps for short periods at participating homes in times of high power demand.


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