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AEP's W.Va. utilities file rate settlement for fuel, vegetation costs

Appalachian Power Co. and Wheeling Power Co. on Aug. 13 filed a settlement agreement with West Virginia regulators over its expanded net energy cost and vegetation management program rate cases.

Under the proposed settlement agreement, customer rates would remain stable for the next two years because dollars from the federal tax reform would be used to offset $110 million in fuel and vegetation management costs, according to an Aug. 13 news release. The expanded net energy cost and vegetation management portion of rates would be unchanged until at least June 30, 2020.

Without the agreement, the American Electric Power Co. Inc. utilities said residential rates could go up as much as 11%. Parties to the settlement agreement include the West Virginia Public Service Commission staff, the Consumer Advocate Division, the West Virginia Energy Users Group and Steel of West Virginia.

If approved, the utilities said rates will shift "very slightly" between customer classes to more accurately allocate costs. The settlement is scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1.

Later in 2018, the commission is expected to rule in a separate case regarding how all regulated utilities in West Virginia should deal with the impacts of federal tax reform, which passed in late 2017.