Appalachian Power fuel rate increase coming for Virginia customers

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 11:24 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ/Appalachian Power Release) - A rise in the cost of coal, natural gas and purchased power over the past year will increase the rate Virginia customers pay for electricity starting November 1.

Appalachian Power (AP), a utility subsidiary of American Electric Power, reports it outlined the effect of rising energy market prices and the steps it is taking to reduce customer costs in its annual fuel factor update filed this week with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC).

The SCC reviews the company’s fuel factor each year to determine whether it should be increased or lowered, according to AP. Fuel costs are the portion of a customer’s bill used to recover the cost of purchasing natural gas and coal for its power plants, as well as the cost of purchased power. Appalachian Power reports it does not earn revenue from fuel.

Energy costs began to spike in 2021. The rapid rise, says the utility, was due to several factors, including the resurgence of the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Instead of recovering the increased costs over one year, the company has asked the SCC for approval to spread the amount over a two-year period. For a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours in a month, this will result in an approximate $20 monthly bill increase, according to AP.

“We recognize these are challenging financial times for many people and families,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer. “We strive each day to keep fuel costs as low as possible, continuously monitoring energy markets for opportunities to purchase fuel and energy at prices that are advantageous to customers.”

Customers experiencing difficulty paying their monthly bills are encouraged to contact the company for assistance. Appalachian Power offers energy efficiency programs and payment options including the Average Monthly Payment Plan (AMP), which helps customers avoid seasonal spikes in their monthly bills by spreading costs throughout the year.