In response to many who have said their electric bills increased significantly or doubled, Del. Wren Williams is asking residents to send the last four months of their Appalachian Power bills to him.
Williams, R-Stuart, added that he plans to investigate the rate increases.
“A lot of households in our district are seeing a huge spike in their electricity bills, owing in large part to the recent cold snap we just had,” Williams said.
The power company, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, has said Virginia customers would see an increase in their bills beginning Nov. 1, due to increased costs of coal, natural gas and purchased power.
Williams cited the “Clean Economic Act” passed by Virginia Democrats in 2020 as a factor in the spike. The act, he said, “picks winners and losers in the energy sector instead of letting the market decide.”
As a result, “power companies in Virginia are being forced to endure absurd regulations,” he said, adding “the cost of compliance is being passed on to the consumer.”
Late last year, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) concluded a revised triennial review of the base rates for Appalachian Power Company that reduces the annual rate increase that has been in effect on an interim basis since October 1, 2022.
For a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, the new rates result in a monthly charge of approximately $6 compared to the interim charge of $8.55. Appalachian Power also was to submit revised tariffs to the SCC that recalculate the bill impact of the application of the new rates and refund the difference with interest to customers within 90 days of the commission’s order.
In August, the Supreme Court of Virginia found that the SCC did not have the authority last year to decide whether it was reasonable for Appalachian Power to include costs associated with the closure of several coal-fired plants in its accounting expenses between 2017 and 2019. The commission had found that the costs, called an asset impairment charge, were unreasonable.
The court directed the SCC to revise its final decision in the triennial review and remanded the case to the commission for further proceedings.
“We’re currently gathering data, looking at the regulations, and having conversations so we can understand what the viable solutions are,” Williams said.
Residents can send their bills to c/o Wren Williams Delegate P.O. Box 406 Richmond, VA, 23218.