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Mon Power and Potomac Edison, both subsidiaries of Ohio-based FirstEnergy, have asked the West Virginia Public Service Commission to raise rates by $207 million.
In a statement Thursday, the companies said the increase will support improvements to the grid, reliability in rural areas, storm repairs and higher operating and maintenance costs due to inflation.
“While strict cost management and careful planning have allowed us to keep our West Virginia electric rates the lowest among the state’s investor-owned electric companies,” Jim Myers, president of FirstEnergy’s West Virginia operations, said in a statement, “an adjustment is required to keep pace with rising prices and allow us to continue making critical electric system enhancements.”
The average residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours per month would see a 15 percent increase, or about $18.
The companies are seeking an agreement with the owner of the Pleasants Power Station to keep it in operating condition that would include a monthly surcharge. The plant was scheduled for deactivation on Thursday.
Emmett Pepper, policy director for Energy Efficient West Virginia, which has criticized the Pleasants surcharge, said Mon Power and Potomac Edison Rates have gone up more than 70 percent since 2007.
“In order to help customers deal with these continued proposed rate hikes,” he said, “ratepayers need to be empowered to address energy costs by meeting their needs through more efficient buildings, generating their own power, and having battery backup for outages.”
Mon Power and Potomac Edison serve about one million customers in West Virginia and Maryland.