Fighting the Power Rate Increase

Brent Finnegan -- July 30th, 2009

Allegheny Power has filed with the SCC for power rate increases in neighboring counties in Virginia and West Virginia. John Lesinski, who is challenging incumbent Del. Todd Gilbert in the 15th District House of Delegates race, is leading a group of concerned citizens from Page, Shenandoah, and Rockingham counties to deliver a petition to stop the rate increase today.

Allegheny Power says the rate increase is “for the recovery of fuel and purchased power costs.”

In a statement released yesterday, Lesinski questioned the amount and the frequency of the increases:

In January, electricity rates were raised by 30% as part of a deal struck between Allegheny Power, the SCC, and the Virginia Attorney General’s office. Allegheny returned to the SCC in April to seek another rate hike, which was temporarily granted until a hearing is conducted in September. At the hearing on Thursday, July 30, Allegheny will return to the SCC for a hearing to request yet another increase.

According to a recent report on WDBJ7 about a similar proposed rate hike by Appalachian Power, Allegheny’s customers aren’t paying more than everybody else in the state.

Under the increase, Appalachian Power customers using about 1,000 kilowatt hours would pay almost $110.

That’s compared to Allegheny Power customers who pay about $91 and Dominion Power customers who pay just over $116.

But Lesinski says this is about power rates going up in a community that can’t afford to pay for it. The unemployment rate in the 15th district are well above the state average. The Page County unemployment rate doubled since last May. On a map of Virginia, Page is the only “black spot” this far north in the state. Lesinski said he doesn’t want to see power shut off in peoples’ homes and small businesses.

“This is about profit,” Lesinski said. “How much do they need to make? Especially when it’s on the backs of people who have lost manufacturing jobs. The point is you can’t get blood out of a stone.”

The petition to stop the rate hike has over 3,400 signatures from Shenandoah Valley residents. The group was scheduled to deliver the petition to the SCC at the public hearing in Richmond this morning.

7 Responses to “Fighting the Power Rate Increase”

  1. Why not require that public utilities which have monopoly status be run as not-for-profit corporations?

    Rate increases are inevitable as the costs of providing services rises, but it’s a powerless feeling to have to pay more to provide a healthier profit margin to a state-sanctioned for-profit monopoly.

  2. Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

    Not for Profit eh? The CEO of Wellpoint health insurance makes over $1.1 million per year. They are a monopoly health insurer and their Not for Profit status just puts lipstick on the pig.

    Far better would be the California model – in the aftermath of the Enron rip off of ratepayers the state created a system where electric utilities can charge more to big consumers, but they had to use the windfall to finance energy conservation improvements to willing ratepayers. They even finance the costs into the monthly billing. Pacific Gas and Electric gets a healthy tax rebate for meeting state electricity conservation goals. A conservation incentive is created while allowing the utility to charge off higher operating costs to energy hogs.

  3. Since when is Wellpoint a non-profit?

  4. seth says:

    since when is california a role model?

  5. Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

    I didn’t find ee cummings relevant either.

  6. seth says:

    there’s a hell of a good universe next door

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