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AEP Adds Charge On Bills; Company Says No Net Range Change

Reported: Feb. 4, 2014 3:12 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 5, 2014 9:56 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Chris Williams, Jeff Morris) -- Lynn Pugh opened her AEP bill this month to see just how much the cold January had set her back, but she found something in her bill that she normally doesn’t see.

“I’ve never seen the consumer rate relief charge,” said AEP customer Lynn Pugh.

Starting in December of 2013, AEP began adding the consumer rate relief charge to customer bills. According to the company, the new charge is a way to help them account for the spike in the price of coal in 2008-2009.

“It’s actually a reflection of a settlement we had with the PSC to recover the cost of coal,” said AEP spokesman Phillip Moye.

Normally AEP pays around $50 per ton for coal, but in ’08 and ’09 they were paying over $100 per ton because of a coal shortage.

The Public Service Commission signed off on the charge and has allowed AEP to keep it on your bill for
the next 15 years. Pugh was shocked to learn that the charge would be on her bill for the next 15 years.

Moye said the AEP opted to go with the additional charge rather than increasing the rate on the price of power.

“The impact on the rate would have been tremendous,” Moye said. “30 to 40 percent increase, and that obviously is more than what customers can bare.”

Pugh said she understands why she is paying the additional charge, but doesn’t think it should be on there for the next 15 years.

“I can’t imagine that they paid that much extra for coal that every AEP customer is going to have to pay this.”

The charge is based on how much your bill costs. Pugh’s charge was almost 11 dollars.

Susan Small with the Public service commission says when the PSC approved the charge; they removed the “Expanded Net Energy” charge which will help offset the cost to consumers.





CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Chris Williams, Jeff Morris) -- If you noticed a charge on your Appalachian Power bill that looked unfamiliar, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.

The company said on its website that since late 2013, there has been a new line item on customers' bills. This $10 to $15 monthly charge results from a surge in coal prices beginning in 2008, which caused coal and purchased power costs to jump.

The company stresses, however, that there is no net rate change for customers because rates actually decreased about 3 percent on Sept. 1 and will remain at that lower level with this change in how charges will appear on customers' bills.

Power company officials said they avoided a rate increase by passage of the Consumer Rate Relief Bonds bill in 2012 and approval by the West Virginia Public Service Commission. The cost of the bonds will be recovered through customer rates over a 15-year period.

Appalachian Power said rates are 9.4 cents per kilowatt hour, below the national average of 11.9 cents per kilowatt hour.



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