Allegheny Power is asking the West Virginia Public Service Commission to raise its rates by about 18 percent.

The subsidiary of Allegheny Energy blames a 236 percent rise in coal prices since 2007.

The company, which serves nearly 500,000 WV customers, says it needs to recover an additional $173 million in fuel and purchased costs.

Gov. Joe Manchin says he will tax Allegheny's proposed $3 billion mega-power, high-tower transmission line from the John Amos plant in Putnam County to Maryland to keep electric bills down for Mountain State residents.

Just how customers would benefit from such a tax is unclear.

The PSC also is reviewing requests from seven of West Virginia's largest natural gas companies seeking rate increases of up to 46 percent.

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