Curtis Tate Published

Appalachian Power Can't Cut Tree-Trimming Budget, PSC Rules

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The West Virginia Public Service Commission has rejected a proposal by Appalachian Power to cut its vegetation management budget.

In April, Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power had asked the PSC to approve its plan to reduce the amount of money it spends to manage trees near power lines by $16 million.

That would have lowered monthly utility bills for about 500,000 customers by $2.

Last week, the commission denied the request, citing concerns about reliability.

The company has about 20,000 miles of transmission lines in West Virginia.

The PSC will hear another Appalachian Power case in October. The company is asking for a $297 million rate increase to offset the higher cost of coal and natural gas.

Residents and local governments have filed comments in opposition to the plan.

If the commission approves the request, Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power customers can expect their monthly charges to increase by about $18.

Appalachian Power is an underwriter of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.