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Appalachian Power bills have increased. Here’s why

Appalachian Power crews
Courtesy Appalachian Power
Appalachian Power crews

Across Virginia, most customer saw increases last year. Appalachian Power customers were hit with not just one, but two rate increases, which also collided with a brutal cold spell in December.

“We’ve talked to some customers whose usage has actually tripled,” said Teresa Hall, a spokesperson for Appalachian Power.

The first rate increase began showing up in bills in October. Appalachian Power added a base rate increase of $8.55 a month for every thousand kilowatt hours used. In December, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) said this was too high, so the rate will go down to about $6.

Appalachian Power initially proposed the base rate increase in 2020, saying they lost profits after they retired coal fired power plants and invested money transitioning to more renewable energy.

In addition to this base rate increase, last October Appalachian Power requested a fuel rate increase of $20 a month. The company said this increase is necessary because of higher fuel costs, as a result of inflation and the war in Ukraine. “It simply costs more to deliver electricity, to generate electricity, to provide that electricity for customers than it did ten years ago,” Hall said.

The SCC is currently reviewing that fuel rate increase, which Appalachian Power already began adding to bills on an interim basis beginning in November.

So, added together, these rate increases added about $30 for every thousand kilowatt hours used a month, which is what Hall said is the average bill is for most families, most months. This winter has not been average, however.

“If you’re using 3,000 kilowatts, that’s $90. So it’s very difficult for a lot of folks.”

Appalachian Power added that it offers free home inspections for customers to find out how to use less energy. Lower income and older residents may be eligible for help with better insulation, and sealing their windows to keep costs down. There are also rebates to help with about half the cost of buying a new heat pump or air conditioner that uses less electricity.

Roxy Todd is Radio IQ's New River Valley Bureau Chief.