Mercer County residents voice opposition to proposed AEP price hike

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 11:11 AM EDT
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PRINCETON, W.Va. (WVVA) - W.Va.’s Public Service Commission (PSC) held its second of four public hearings regarding a potential AEP energy bill price hike on Monday at the Mercer County Courthouse.

Those who gave public comment seemed to agree across the board, and urged the PSC to not allow the hike.

“If you feel strongly about something and you want to see a change, stand up and say something. You’re not going to see a change unless you do,” said Jennifer Lusk, a resident who gave a public comment on Monday. “People are just struggling to make ends meet. And for a big corporation like this to come and ask for an outrageous increase, it just moved me to come out here and share my thoughts on how that’s unfair.”

If the rate hike were to be approved, West Virginians could see their power bills increase by 18 dollars per month. Appalachian Power says it needs nearly $300 million in reimbursement to offset increasing costs across the board.

The PSC’s chairman, Charlotte Lane, said the goal of such public hearings is to gain a better understanding of how such a hike could effect consumers.

“We need to hear how these rate increases effect real people, and that is why we’re doing these public hearings. We want to make sure that we understand fully, the impact it will have on the average person.” said Lane.

As one W.Va. State Delegate said on Monday however, many believe the increase could be too much to bear for the community.

”The rate increase they’re asking for is just astronomical, and it’s just unsustainable for folks in our area,” said Del. Marty Gearheart, (R) Mercer County.

West Virginians unable to attend one of the PSC’s public hearings are able to submit public comment online, at www.psc.state.wv.us.

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