WEIRTON - Mon Power customers in West Virginia will see a slight increase in their electric bills, reflecting the higher cost of materials purchased to fuel the power plants over the past year.
The West Virginia Public Service Commission has ruled that Mon Power can begin collecting on average $3 more per month for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.
However, the company said that even with the increase residential customers are expected to remain about 18 percent below the national average.
"The typical residential bill for a Mon Power customer who uses about 1,100 kilowatt hours will rise to about $99 starting Jan. 1," spokesman Todd Meyers said. "If you use less, there will be less of an increase. If you have a big house or a lot of appliances or have multiple heating or air conditioning units, you're likely to pay a little more because you use more."
Meyers called it a "true up," done periodically under a cost recovery clause that was implemented in West Virginia in 2007 to balance out the actual price of fuel versus what had been anticipated. The company's last such request was in September 2009.
"It's an annual adjustment, typically, in West Virginia," he said. "They go back at the end of the year and look to see what happened. In some years there's been no collection of money so there's a rebate, other years fuel costs more than we charged so there's a true-up. In this case, we'll (realize) an additional $19.6 million."
Meyers pointed out the company originally asked for $32 million "and we got $19.6 million, but we'll be able to recover (the difference) in future filings." He said the Public Service Commission "decided to defer some of what we asked for into the future."
The company blamed the increase on rising coal prices over the past two years. Coal prices represent the single largest component of the cost to produce electricity, they said.
(Harris, the business editor for the Herald-Star, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)