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West Virginia Consumer Advocate rep calls for rework of how utilities handle tax cuts


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — Major West Virginia utility companies are calling for rate increases, despite saving millions of dollars through federal tax cuts, and they must change their approach so customers fully benefit from those savings, according to state Consumer Advocate Division testimony.

Ralph Smith, a senior regulatory consultant at Michigan-based Larkin & Associates, filed testimony Monday with the state Public Service Commission on behalf of the CAD. The testimony is for the PSC’s investigation into how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which lowered the corporate federal income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent starting this year, will affect utilities and their customers.

“The revenue impacts of this major tax reform should be viewed by the Commission as material, unplanned, unusual and beyond the control of utility management,” Smith said. “The CAD recommends that the Commission utilize the TCJA-related savings for these large investor-owned utilities to the fullest extent possible to benefit the customers of West Virginia.”

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