American Electric Power has applied for a $183 million dollar rate increase for customers of its Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power subsidiaries in West Virginia.

Residential customers would be hit with a 30 percent increase over the four years, while industrial and commercial customers would have hikes of 14 percent to 24 percent over the same period.

AEP's proposal before the PSC asks for a four-year phase-in, starting with an eleven percent hike in the middle of next year.

That would be followed by varying increases each January for the next three years.

The company cites increased coal costs and the price of installing environmental controls at two large power plants as the primary reasons for the request.

The PSC is expected to take ten months to evaluate the increases

. For a residential customer using one-thousand kilowatt-hours in a month, the rate will jump from the current price of 55-dollars, 28-cents to 70 dollars, 45-cents by 2009.

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