A recent story said West Virginians have some of the lowest electric rates in the nation.

That could be changing some.

Mon Power and Potomac Edison have proposed a rate increase for the first time in almost five years, the companies providing more than half a million customers with electricity across the state.

Mon Power serves approximately 385,000 customers and Potomac Edison serves roughly 135,000 customers.

The request is asking the WV-PSC for a $96 million rate increase.

If approved, the average monthly electricity bill for residential customers would increase by approximately 15% from $92.62 to $106.79.

Company officials are saying the rate increase is necessary, and will potentially help with costs related with the 2012 derecho, Hurricane Sandy, operating power stations, and the hiring of 50 new employees.

In addition, the filing is tied to First Energy's purchase of the Harrison Power Station which took place in October 2013.

Company officials are saying a third of the rate increase is dedicated to tree trimming efforts and a new vegetation management program aimed to prevent issues involving downed power lines. "For the low income families I think it'll be difficult. For some others it probably won't affect them much at all," said King. The Public Service Commission will review the filing extensively and public hearings will be held on the matter.

If the commission approves the request customers could start paying more for electricity in February 2015.

Hur Herald ©from Sunny Cal
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