Speak up on proposed utility rate increase

An editorial from The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has set two dates for public hearings on a proposed American Electric Power rate increase that would, if approved, raise power bills significantly.

AEP serves almost 500,000 people in 23 counties, including Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming.

On average, customers who use an average of 1,000 kilowatt-hours pay a power bill of about $94 per month. With the rate increase, they would see their power bill go up to $115.

It is a significant increase, especially for retirees and other households that may be on fixed incomes.

AEP says it needs the additional money to recover costs from dealing with the derecho and Hurricane Sandy, both in 2012.

Utilities of course are not the same as most businesses. If a local business decides to raise rates for its products and services, consumers have the option of not buying those products or buying them from a competitor who has lower prices.

There really is no second option when it comes to purchasing electricity to run and heat our homes and businesses.

Which is why it is important for customers of AEP to make their voices heard…

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