APPALACHIAN POWER, WHEELING POWER FILE FUEL COSTS WITH PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION; NO RATE CHANGE REQUESTED

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

CHARLESTON, W.Va., April 1, 2013 – Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, today submitted its annual filing to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) reporting fuel costs. Both companies are subsidiaries of American Electric Power (AEP). The Expanded Net Energy Cost (ENEC) is designed to reimburse the company for past and ongoing costs of fuel (primarily coal) and purchased power.

The company is requesting no rate change for the second year in a row. In its filing, Appalachian proposed considering the costs for several cases together in order to keep rates stable for customers:

  •      Fuel and construction costs, which are included in the annual ENEC filing;
    ·        Consumer Rate Relief Charge payments; and
    ·        Costs associated with the transfer of certain generating assets and the merger of Appalachian and Wheeling Power.

The net effect of all these costs is that customer rates will stay the same. If the PSC rules in favor of Appalachian’s proposal for the ENEC, rates are not expected to change in 2013 and into 2014. Rates have not changed since mid-2011.

In 2012, Appalachian filed with the PSC requesting approval to issue Consumer Rate Relief Bonds designed to pay the under-recovered balance of past costs. Without the bonds, rates could have risen as much as 30 percent to pay for the coal costs, which stem from 2008 and 2009 when coal costs increased substantially. The parties to the case recently agreed to a settlement that will allow the company to finance $376 million in unrecovered cost. The settlement is currently pending before the PSC.

In another case currently before the Commission, Appalachian Power is proposing to acquire from Ohio Power 50 percent of Mitchell Plant and the remaining two-thirds of one unit at Amos Plant. This generation is needed because the company doesn’t own enough generation to meet the capacity and energy obligation to serve its customers. Appalachian has purchased power from these plants for many years to meet customer demand for electricity. The cost of purchasing power is roughly the same as the annual cost of purchasing the plants. In effect, this transfer allows the company to move from being a renter to an owner for little or no change in customer rates.

In another filing today, the company requested approval to continue its current energy efficiency programs and add two new short-term programs. After the first full year of the program in 2012, the company reached 101 percent of its annual energy savings goal. A total of 51.2 million kilowatt hours of energy savings was achieved, an amount equal to the annual usage of 4,350 average homes.

This savings goal was reached at a cost that was approximately $1 million below budget. The company proposes to use that $1 million for two new year-long programs. The first would provide targeted low-income weatherization assistance, and the second would provide rebates to commercial and industrial customers for custom energy efficiency programs.

Appalachian’s 9.7 cents per kilowatt-hour is still below the national average residential price for electricity of 11.5 cents/kwh. Tips for saving energy can be found on Appalachian’s website, www.AppalachianPower.com.

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