Mon Power, PE amend rate case, request rate increase - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Mon Power, PE amend rate case, request rate increase

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FirstEnergy subsidiaries Monongahela Power Company and Potomac Edison Company have amended their pending rate case to include the $7.5 million in costs associated with a recent West Virginia Public Service Commission order, resulting in about a $103 million requested rate increase.

In response to consumer complaints, the Commission initiated a general investigation in June 2013. As a result of the investigation, the PSC issued an order to Mon Power and PE May 28, directing them to implement monthly meter reading and billing no later than July 1, 2015. The companies also are being required to maintain adequate staff to perform monthly readings.

The filing also includes an additional $48 million for costs associated with a recently approved tree-trimming program for both companies, designed to help reduce the frequency and shorten the duration of outages.

The current monthly bill for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours is about $92.62. If the proposed rate increase is granted, including the costs of the monthly meter reading and the new tree-trimming program, the monthly bill would be about $107.98.

Keryn Newman, director of policy and stratregic planning at the Coalition for Reliable Power, condemed the PSC for placing the cost of “their mistake” on consumers.

“The cost of remedying their errors should not be on the backs of ratepayers,” Newman said.

Instead, she suggested that the PSC should have ordered the companies to absorb the cost of the monthly meter readings.

The requested rate increases are subject to PSC review. Any increase in rates would not become effective until approved and authorized by the Commission, which is expected to occur in late February 2015.

Mon Power and PE serve approximately 520,000 customers in 37 West Virginia counties.

— Sarah Tincher