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Appalachian, Wheeling Power get OK for hefty hikes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved a $123.5 million rate increase for American Electric Power subsidiaries Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power.

The new rate system went into effect immediately for the more than 476,000 customers in 24 West Virginia counties served by the two companies.

The overall $123.5 million increase represents a 9 percent bump in the companies’ annual rate base. It’s more than $100 million less than the $226 million, or 16 percent increase the companies had originally sought.

The overall increase includes a $79 million increase in the companies’ base rates and an additional $44.5 million to cover costs from the companies’ Vegetation Management Program, which involves trimming trees and brush from power line rights of way.

But while the increase represents an overall 9 percent bump, residential customers will see a larger increase. That’s because the amount of the increase varies across the companies’ residential, commercial and industrial customer classes.

To dampen the immediate effect of the rate increase, commissioners approved a one-year phase in of the overall 16.1 percent increase in residential customer rates.

The first 11.8 percent of this increase will go into effect immediately…

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