Appalachian Power made its annual Expanded Net Energy Cost, or ENEC, filing with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) on Friday, April 28. The purpose of regular ENEC filings is to adjust the amount included in rates to match closely the amount paid for the coal and natural gas (fuel) needed to run our power plants, for purchased power and related costs.
Coal and natural gas prices rose dramatically in late 2021 and remained high through 2022. This swift and steep rise led to us paying more per unit for these fuels than the amount included in rates, and unrecovered costs piled up quickly. As a result, this ENEC filing requests $552.9 million for costs incurred but not yet reimbursed, and an $88.8 million adjustment to align ongoing ENEC costs with ENEC revenues.
We are Working to Keep Your Rates Stable
A traditional one-year recovery of these costs would require an increase of approximately 37%. To minimize the impact on you and your neighbors, we are instead proposing two alternative recovery mechanisms.
As indicated in the graphic, our proposal to spread recovery over three years reduces the percentage of increase significantly. Our second proposal, to securitize unrecovered fuel and other cost items, has by far the least impact on customer rates.
In the coming weeks the PSC will consider the information in our filing and set a procedural schedule for hearing the case. Whatever path forward the PSC chooses, it is important that the ENEC amount included in rates is adjusted to reflect ongoing ENEC costs. We asked that any approved rate increase become effective by September 1, 2023.
We're Here to Help
Our Average Monthly Payment (AMP) plan offers a better way to manage your electric bill. AMP can help you avoid seasonal bill spikes by spreading heating and cooling costs over the whole year. That means you pay roughly the same amount during freezing and scorching months as you pay off-peak months.
With our TakeCharge energy-efficiency initiatives, you can find energy-saving resources and rebates to help reach maximum efficiency in your home. Explore some of our programs to help keep your home comfortable, productive and safe.
In March 2023, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed into law legislation that allows the Public Service Commission to approve qualifying utilities, such as Appalachian Power, to securitize the unrecovered fuel balances, costs for Effluent Limit Guidelines (ELG) and Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) environmental controls on power plants, unrecovered storm costs and the remaining net book value of power stations.
What Securitization Means
Securitization sells high-quality, highly-rated securities to investors, with interest and principal payments secured by a charge collected from customers. It allows Appalachian Power to recover commission-approved costs through the issuance of bonds.
- This financing mechanism is used by regulated utilities in 32 states, including West Virginia.
- West Virginia utilities have used securitization in the past with environmental plant retrofits and large unrecovered balances.
How Securitization Benefits You
- Securitizing fuel costs avoids a sharp rate increase by spreading the costs of a sizeable unrecovered balance over time.
- Securitizing an asset, like the John Amos Power Plant, can lower costs to you and your neighbors by financing repayment at a lesser rate of return.