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W.Va. regulators approve $25M rate increase for FirstEnergy utilities

FirstEnergy Corp.'s West Virginia utilities have received approval from state regulators to implement a $25 million rate increase tied to fuel cost recovery.

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia on Dec. 9 adopted a settlement agreement reached between utilities Monongahela Power Co. and Potomac Edison Co. and the PSC staff, the Consumer Advocate Division and the West Virginia Energy Users Group. In approving the agreement, the commission authorized the $25 million increase in expanded net energy cost rates, a significant reduction of the utilities' originally requested $64.9 million hike. The commission also approved an adjustment to the companies' energy efficiency and conservation rates.

In addition, Mon Power and Potomac Edison agreed to a two-year freeze on their fuel rates. The rates will take effect Jan. 1, 2017, and remain in place until Dec. 31, 2018.

The monthly bill for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh is expected to rise about 1.9%, or $2.13, the utilities said in a Dec. 14 news release. This increase accounts for $1.53 for the fuel and purchased power costs and 60 cents for the increased energy efficiency costs, according to the companies.

"Even with the increase, rates for Mon Power and Potomac Edison residential customers will be more than 13 percent below the national average," the news release states. (PSC docket 16-1121-E-ENEC)