SCC partially approves Appalachian Power rate increase starting in October

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Most Appalachian Power customers will see a higher bill this fall after the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) partially approved an environmental rate adjustment clause (E-RAC) to recover funds spent regulating the disposal of coal ash at two of the company’s West Virginia power plants.

According to the SCC, the Amos and Mountaineer power plants are coal-fired generation facilities that produce electricity to serve Appalachian Power’s customers in Virginia. The SCC reviews and approves the share of those environmental compliance expenses that Virginia customers pay through electric rates.

The SCC approved a $27.44 million Virginia revenue requirement for the first year of the E-RAC, which will be adjusted annually to reflect actual and projected expenses associated with compliance costs.

Starting Oct. 1, officials say the new E-RAC will increase the monthly bill of a typical Appalachian Power residential customer by $2.17.

However, the SCC also denied approximately $4.2 million of expenses associated with Appalachian Power’s proposed investment in the Amos and Mountaineer power plants to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Steam Electric Effluent Limitations Guidelines, saying that Appalachian Power did not meet its burden of proving the reasonableness and prudence of these costs at this time.

In its final order, the SCC said, “We find it is critically important to analyze the overall impact of this investment on both customer rates and reliability, and that [for this specific expense] the instant record is currently lacking in both regards.”

According to a statement shared on Monday, Aug. 23, the SCC reiterated in its order its sensitivity to the effects of these rate increases particularly considering the economic impacts associated with COVID-19. However, the SCC reportedly said it must follow the laws applicable to any rate case as well as the findings of fact supported by the evidence.

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