(02/13/2007)
The Public Service Commission is hearing testimony on Allegheny Power's request for a new rate increase.

They are asking for a 10% increase.

If the PSC approves the proposed $100 million increase, it would be about seven dollars more every month for the average Allegheny customer.

Allegheny officials will make the case for the company's request, affecting about 500,000 West Virginia customers.

State Consumer Advocate Billy Jack Gregg says he is prepared to recommend the increase not be granted to Allegheny.

"Our case shows that even giving them their increase in fuel costs, they do not need an overall increase in rates and so we're going to oppose the increase, above the current rates," said Gregg.

Allegheny officials say their fuel rates have not been adjusted since back in 1998 and the cost of coal has increased more than 20%.

"They've had huge personnel reductions, other efficiencies that they've gained and their tax expense is down because of the losses that they had for the last several years," says Gregg. "All of those items show they really don't need an overall increase in rates."

A separate increase of 4.8% has already been approved to cover the cost of a scrubber, and will go into effect this spring.


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