CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Civil Service Commission has approved a requested rate increase, while a more recent request could result in higher rates down the road.
The PSC issued an order on Dec. 29 approving a requested increase that requires Mon Power and Potomac Edison to enter into a power purchase agreement with the Longview Power Plant in Monongalia County.
The three-member PSC approved a $ 19.6 million rate increase for My Power and Potomac Edison, two subsidiaries of FirstEnergy, effective Saturday. The rate increase of $ 19.6 million is before consideration of excess accumulated deferred tax offsets.
The rate increase, which represents a 1.5% increase for customers, will allow Mon Power and Potomac Edison to recover fuel costs, purchased power contracts and transportation costs. The company attributed the costs to the increase in the price of commodities, such as coal and electricity purchased from power plants, as well as charges assessed by PJM Interconnections, a wholesale power transmission company. serving 13 states and Washington, DC
Attempts by Marion County-based Grant Town Power to get PSC to enter into a buyout proposal with Mon Power and Potomac Edison were rejected by commissioners. The companies have a power purchase agreement with Grant Town until 2036.
“Eliminating existing capacity resources will only exacerbate the deficits facing businesses,” the PSC wrote in its order. “We do not find sufficient evidence that eliminating the capacity to which companies are contractually entitled will be beneficial, as it will lead companies to an even larger deficit in PJM obligations.”
Commissioners also rejected a call from environmental and energy efficiency groups, such as the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, Energy Efficiency West Virginia and Solar United Neighbors, to order companies to restore and provide access to energy efficiency programs. . The groups argued that reinstating these programs would also reduce fuel costs.
“We are disappointed that the commission is unwilling to consider energy efficiency in a matter that was so focused on market volatility in fuel prices,” said Emmett Pepper, policy director for Energy Efficient West Virginia. “Energy efficiency is one of the best solutions to deal with these costs, and we see this decision as a missed opportunity to reduce fuel costs and help customers lower their energy bills by reducing the cost of fuel. wasting energy and improving the efficiency of the house. “
The approved order came 13 days after Mon Power and Potomac Edison announced that they had applied to the PSC for approval of a $ 142 million multi-year environmental compliance program for upgrades for the state of Fort Martin Power in the Monongalia County and the Harrison Power Station near Shinnston.
“The proposed upgrades will create local jobs and allow us to continue operating our factories over the next decade to benefit our customers in West Virginia, while minimizing their impact on the environment,” said Jim Myers. , president of West Virginia operations. for FirstEnergy, in a statement last month.
The cost to consumers, if approved, would be 51 cents per month for residential customers. The upgrades would be completed by 2025 and keep the two plants operating in 2035 and 2040.
My Power serves 395,000 customers in 34 counties, while Potomac Edison serves 151,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle.
Steven Allen Adams can be contacted at [email protected]