The Charleston Gazette is reporting that Appalachian Power overstated by $6.9 million a construction surcharge that's part of the company's interim request to increase electricity rates 18.5 percent on July 1.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission Advocate Division has asked commissioners to reject that part of the proposed rate increase because of the inflated figures.

Appalachian Power improperly included some maintenance and operation expenses in its rate increase, said Bryon Harris, PSC Consumer Advocate.

The company also wants to recover costs from a new pollution-control scrubber at the John Amos Power Plant in Putnam County, even though the project wasn't completed by a March 1 deadline, according to the PSC filing.

The Consumer Advocates lawyer and a handful of attorneys representing businesses across Southern West Virginia plan to oppose Appalachian Power's proposed rate hike at a hearing today.

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