W.Va. ratepayer groups agree on bonds - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

W.Va. ratepayer groups agree on bonds

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A proposed agreement between two American Electric Power subsidiaries and state ratepayer groups would allow the utilities to pay off old debts without huge rate increases.

Under the agreement, Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power would sell $376 million worth of bonds and use the proceeds to pay off the debt.

Most of the debt stems from fuel costs the companies accumulated following dramatic rises in coal prices in 2008 and 2009.

Without a bond sale, the utilities say they would need to raise rates by 30 percent to 40 percent.

The Public Service Commission must approve the agreement.

PSC Consumer Advocate Division director Byron Harris tells the Charleston Daily Mail that the bond sale appears to be the best plan, given the options available.

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