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Reasoning behind utility rate hikes considered unfair

June 3, 2018 GMT

A proposed rate increase by Appalachian Power is being met with criticism by customers who say West Virginia residents living on fixed incomes will be hard hit. Many also aren’t pleased by part of the rationale for the hike request — that less electricity usage means the power company needs to raise their customers’ monthly bills.

Many Herald-Dispatch readers were similarly concerned and confounded by the logic behind the proposed increase, as were some readers of the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Here are some of their reactions:

Mary Mac: “I personally think our electric bills should not be raised because the state is already seeing a decline in population due to lack of jobs and cost of living! Increasing the utility costs will not help because they are still going to see a loss next year and every year after that till the economy itself gets better! Maybe it’s time for AEP to restructure its employees to offset the loss. Many people are still perplexed why our bills increased so much this winter and nothing changed temperature wise or in our households!”

Shannon Wiley: “Companies will charge what they can get away with. The commission is who I blame; they are put in place to protect us from nonsense like this.”

Joab Dellinger: “I don’t get the whole ‘fixed income’ saying. My income is fixed, too. It doesn’t magically shoot up thousands of dollars on random months. Are we not all fixed incomes minus hourly wage workers?”

Michelle Dawn Perdue: “They are referring to people that receive Social Security benefits like your grandparents. That’s a fixed income, no possibility for a raise. You, more than likely, will get a raise.”

Lisa Tomlin: “We all need to write the PSC a letter protesting. Let them know we don’t agree with what AEP is doing. There reasoning is just lame. Most of us had higher bills in the winter; I know of many who had to pawn items just to pay AEP. So now they want to raise bills due to us not using as much?! Seriously. Instead of complaining on Facebook and Twitter write a letter to the PSC and tell them. I know of one petition out there, go sign it. Do something.”

Gene Runk: “With the cost of living, increasing water, electric, and everything else, how can anyone live on a fixed income. Before long 20 percent of people will be living on the street.”

Tony Reed: “Why is there a monopoly with energy? Why is that even allowed?”

Joann Kitts: “Because WV has only one power company, no competition.”

Ryan Donoho: “Wow, so the solution to an increase in cost is ... use more? How’s the weather in Crazy Town?”

Debbie Johnson Cremeans: “Good luck nothing has been done yet. Senator Ojeda’s talk with AEP did no good, it just raised more.”

Paul Anna Chambers: “I think some agency needs to evaluate the accuracy of these ATRs (automatic meter reader). Perhaps they could actually walk up to a meter and read it. There needs to be a watchdog in place here.”

Lisa Watkins: “Raising the rates because we are using LESS electric ... Is like our insurance company raising rates because we have less claims/accidents. Nobody would stand for that, we would just change insurance companies. But, we can’t change electric companies and they know it. It’s the same thing as price gouging in my opinion.”

Joseph Cwiertniewicz: “Nobody moves forward on this. No politicians, no papers, no news network and especially the people of the state... We all know the PSC is behind this and no one can talk to them, why?... They say we want a 25 percent increase ... they get a 15 percent raise and we think we have won. We have lost ... the PSC can hardly walk out of their brand-new building with their pockets full laughing all the way to the bank.

Mel Avis: “Time to move off the grid.”