Appalachian Power, a utility subsidiary of American Electric Power filed its annual fuel factor update last week with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) and is requesting an increase in the fuel rate for its Virginia customers.
Fuel costs are the portion of a customer’s bill used to recover the cost of natural gas and coal used in the generation of electricity, as well as the cost of purchased power. The SCC reviews the company’s fuel rate each year to determine whether it should be increased or lowered.
Fuel costs are approximately 20 percent of a residential customer’s electric bill. The current fuel factor is 1.999 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Appalachian’s proposal increases the fuel factor to 2.300 cents per kWh. For a customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours in a month, this will result in an approximate $3 monthly increase. The fuel factor was reduced last year due to lower costs; this year’s increase brings it to the same level as it was in 2019.
If approved, the increase will go into effect in November. At that point, a Virginia residential customer using 1,000 kWh/month will pay 12.29 cents/kWh for electricity, a cost that remains below the national average. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average residential U.S. cost for electricity was 13.41 cents per kWh. (Electric Power Monthly, August 24, 2021.)
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s approximately 16,800 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 223,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.5 million customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 30,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 5,500 megawatts of renewable energy.