CHARLESTON, W.Va., December 14, 2020 – Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, today submitted a proposal to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) to implement a surcharge mechanism for recovering costs associated with infrastructure investments made between base rate cases.
The aim of the proposal is to provide timely recovery of costs associated with incremental investments not recovered through current rates, and to decrease the magnitude and frequency of base rate case filings. The recovery mechanism, called an infrastructure tracker, is similar in concept to mechanisms already in place for other regulated utilities in the state.
“The infrastructure tracker is designed to smooth out customer rates by seeking capital investment recovery annually,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and COO. “For customers, that helps us avoid the large jumps in rates that can happen when costs build up over time.”
The proposal calls for capping the amount of any annual increase through the tracker to a percentage of the companies’ total retail revenue, subjecting the tracker to an annual true up for over or under recovery, and resetting the recovery mechanism to zero when new rates from a base rate filing become effective.
The initial filing seeks an increase of $49.8 million, which represents recovery of costs associated with infrastructure investments made over a nearly three-year period since the companies’ last base rate case filing in 2018. If approved as proposed, residential customer rates would rise approximately 3.5 percent effective June 1, 2021, a monthly increase of $4.94 for a customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours or $8.86 for a customer using 2,000 kilowatt-hours.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s approximately 17,400 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 221,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 31,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 5,200 megawatts of renewable energy.
This report made by American Electric Power and its Registrant Subsidiaries contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP and each of its Registrant Subsidiaries believe that their expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: changes in economic conditions, electric market demand and demographic patterns in AEP service territories; the impact of pandemics, including COVID-19, and any associated disruption of AEP’s business operations due to impacts on economic or market conditions, electricity usage, employees, customers, service providers, vendors and suppliers; inflationary or deflationary interest rate trends; volatility in the financial markets, particularly developments affecting the availability or cost of capital to finance new capital projects and refinance existing debt; the availability and cost of funds to finance working capital and capital needs, particularly during periods when the time lag between incurring costs and recovery is long and the costs are material; decreased demand for electricity; weather conditions, including storms and drought conditions, and AEP’s ability to recover significant storm restoration costs; the cost of fuel and its transportation, the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters and the cost of storing and disposing of used fuel, including coal ash and spent nuclear fuel; the availability of fuel and necessary generation capacity and the performance of AEP’s generation plants; AEP’s ability to recover fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP’s ability to build or acquire renewable generation, transmission lines and facilities (including the ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs; new legislation, litigation and government regulation, including oversight of nuclear generation, energy commodity trading and new or heightened requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances that could impact the continued operation, cost recovery, and/or profitability of AEP’s generation plants and related assets; evolving public perception of the risks associated with fuels used before, during and after the generation of electricity, including coal ash and nuclear fuel; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions, including rate or other recovery of new investments in generation, distribution and transmission service and environmental compliance; resolution of litigation; AEP’s ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; prices and demand for power generated and sold at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to energy storage and new, developing, alternative or distributed sources of generation; AEP’s ability to recover through rates any remaining unrecovered investment in generation units that may be retired before the end of their previously projected useful lives; volatility and changes in markets for coal and other energy-related commodities, particularly changes in the price of natural gas; changes in utility regulation and the allocation of costs within regional transmission organizations, including ERCOT, PJM and SPP; changes in the creditworthiness of the counterparties with whom AEP has contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy trading market; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of AEP debt; the impact of volatility in the capital markets on the value of the investments held by AEP’s pension, OPEB, captive insurance entity and nuclear decommissioning trust and the impact of such volatility on future funding requirements; accounting standards periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes, naturally occurring and human-caused fires, cyber security threats and other catastrophic events; and the ability to attract and retain the requisite work force and key personnel.