Appalachian Power truck

An Appalachian Power Company truck is seen in Bluefield, W.Va., in this file photo.


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

CHARLESTON — Customers of Appalachian Power will be seeing another rate increase in September, this time to help finance modifications that are required to comply with federal environmental regulations at three coal-fired generating plants in West Virginia.

The rate increase approved by the state Public Service Commission will allow Appalachian Power to make internal modifications that are necessary to comply with federal environmental regulations at the Amos, Mountaineer and Mitchell power plants. This will allow all three plants to remain open and operational through at least 2040.

The commission also authorized Appalachian Power to implement a surcharge in order to recover the construction costs.

The new rate increase will take effect on Sept. 1. The average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatts per month will see an increase of approximately 38 cents on their monthly bill.

Although the improvements only apply to those three plants, the rate increase will be charged to all Appalachian Power customers in the state, Susan Small, a spokesperson for the Public Service Commission, confirmed to the Daily Telegraph Thursday.

Charlotte Lane, the commission's chairwoman, said in a press release that the PSC is concerned about a likely shortage of electricity that would result from closing down the Mitchell Plant prematurely.

“We recognize that in the future, for new power supply resources, we may have to rely more on intermittent resources such as wind and solar," Lane said. "It is premature, however, to begin abandoning our traditional base load power supply resources, which can be upgraded to meet environmental requirements.”

Parties who were granted intervenor status in the case included Solar United Neighbors, Energy Efficient, the West Virginia Coal Association and the West Virginia Energy Users Group.

— Contact Charles Owens at Follow him @BDTOwens

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