Our Eye Center can help keep your vision healthy during the pandemic. Find out more.
AARP West Virginia, April 16, 2010
An extensive media campaign by AARP West Virginia helped defeat the largest electrical rate increase ever requested in the Mountain State.
The West Virginia Public Service Commission (WVPSC) denied a request by Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power for a 43 percent rate increase. Instead, the utility was allowed a 12.1 percent rate increase.
The ruling means Appalachian Power customers will pay more for their electricity, but substantially less than they would have paid if the full request had been granted. Customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will see their bills rise about $9 a month, from about $73 a month to $81.83.
“AARP has a long history of speaking up on behalf of consumers,” said AARP West Virginia State Director Gaylene Miller. “We are pleased with the public service commission’s ruling.”
Miller said AARP was concerned about the impact of the rate hike on older West Virginians, many who are living on fixed budgets. She said that up to 24 percent of their overall income would have to be gone to pay their monthly power bills if Appalachian Power's full request had been granted.
Gov. Joe Manchin also expressed alarm over the utility's initial request, saying at one point that "no one in today's market" could absorb a 43 percent increase.
The utilities are both subsidiaries of Ohio-based American Electric Power (AEP). The utility said that the rate increase was needed to offset higher fuel costs. The 43 percent rate hike would have generated the utility about $442 million, which AEP executives said included no profit but covered costs of fuel, purchased power and pollution control equipment.
The commission decided to grant the utility a $355 million increase, which will be phased in over four years to help consumers. Commissioners also have reserved the right to reconsider and adjust rates annually for the next three years. The increase amounts to about $124.7 million this year, including $18.1 million in customer surcharges intended to cover AEP's construction-related expenses.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Featured AARP Member Benefits
See All >
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age.
You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime. You will be asked to register or log in.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at