High electric bills in Roanoke Valley: How customers and Appalachian Power are responding

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 6:23 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - There are now two petitions from customers going around social media to show Appalachian Power Company how high December bills are impacting families.

WDBJ7 received dozens of messages from customers sharing concerns about the increased bills. We brought those concerns to the company Friday and they shared some energy conservation tips.

Wednesday, AEP told WDBJ7 the high bills are from the increased cost of fuel and colder weather.

Customers are talking about their bills jumping $200, $300, even $400 from the previous month.

“It is very stressful because formula for my five-month-old is not cheap, either,” customer Adaisha Wright said. “It’s basically having to really budget for things and having to cut into your budget for stuff.”

A spokesperson with Appalachian Power explained both the fuel rate and the base rate of electricity increased, making the cost of energy higher.

“Some customers will have a higher amount that they use, so those charges will be more,” Teresa Hamilton Hall said. “It all depends on how much electricity you use.”

Petitions are now calling for the company to stop the rate increases.

“That’s what I plan on doing with the petition, just pointing out that we can’t afford it,” petition organizer and AEP customer Jacob McCoy said. “Plain and simple.”

Customers told WDBJ7 they haven’t changed how much energy they use, but AEP said the colder weather will still push up the price.

“When it’s super cold outside, your heat pump is going to work harder than it’s ever worked,” Hamilton Hall said. “Even though you don’t touch your thermostat, your heat pumps are going to be working harder to keep your home warm.”

But customers are concerned after December’s bill, the cost will continue to go up.

“The last thing we want going up is our necessities,” Wright said. “We need lights.”

“It’s not affordable for anybody,” McCoy said. “I work 16 hours a day so I can pay that bill.”

AEP also said if the amount of energy used per month increases, that will also increase some of the service fees you see on your bill.

If you feel like your bill isn’t correct, you can reach out to AEP by phone, email or social media to figure out what’s going on with your electric. There are payment plans and financial options for families who may be struggling to pay their bills.