Appalachian Power’s attempts to increase rates unjustifiable

Virginia State Corporation Commission rejects APCo rate hike

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Today, the Virginia State Corporation Commission entered its final order in Appalachian Power’s rate case rejecting the company’s attempts to recover unjustified costs, protecting Commonwealth customers. The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing Appalachian Voices in the hearing, argued that Appalachian Power had in fact over-earned, despite the company’s claims that it had under-earned and the Commission agreed.

“We applaud the Commission’s ruling in this case, which properly applies the law and refuses to impose unjustified and harmful rate increases on customers who are already struggling during a global pandemic,” said Will Cleveland, Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “We are further grateful to the Commission for rejecting APCo’s request to shift more costs into a higher fixed monthly charge which would undermine Virginia’s energy efficiency and rooftop solar goals.”

This is the first rate case for Appalachian Power since the 2015 rate freeze legislation, and it involved the Commission reviewing Appalachian’s revenues and expenses for 2017, 2018, and 2019. Appalachian Power sought to apply certain accounting mechanisms to engineer a rate increase, the Commission rejected that attempt. 

A key issue in the case was whether APCo was allowed to recover in 2019 all of the uncollected costs of several power plants that had been retired early. The Commission agreed with the Southern Environmental Law Center that such a write-off was inappropriate.

Additionally, the SCC denied Appalachian Power’s request to increase its customer’s fixed monthly charge.