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Mon Power, Hope Gas seek rate increases from PSC

CHARLESTON — Two West Virginia utilities are asking the state Public Service Commission for a rate increase.

Both Hope Gas and Mon Power/Potomac Edison made filings this week with the PSC.

Hope Gas, which provides natural gas to approximately 111,000 customers in 35 West Virginia counties, filed a $66.5 million rate case. If approved, the average residential customer’s bill would increase approximately 5.8%, which is $6.45 a month.

Mon Power and Potomac Edison, subsidiaries of FirstEnergy, have filed for a $207 million increase in the current base rate. Approval would increase the average residential customer’s bill by $18.07 a month, a
15% increase.

The last base rate increase for Mon Power came in 2014. The company said it plans to use the money from the new filing to further invest in its infrastructure, make its operations in rural areas more reliable and to establish a team to support low-income customers.

“While strict cost management and careful planning have allowed us to keep our West Virginia electric rates the lowest among the state’s investor-owned electric companies, an adjustment is required to keep pace with rising prices and allow us to continue making critical electric system enhancements,” FirstEnergy West Virginia operations President Jim Myers said. “Our proposal supports ongoing preventative maintenance and equipment enhancements that would reinforce the grid against progressively stronger storms.”

Mon Power and Potomac Edison said they hope to recover costs associated with repairs that had to be made after storms that occurred last December.

The two utilities have about 550,000 customers in more three dozen of the states 55 counties.

The PSC is scheduled to make a decision on the rate hike request by March 2024.

Meanwhile, Hope Gas is awaiting a decision from the PSC on the company’s request to purchase Peoples Gas.

The transaction is valued at about $37 million and is expected to close by mid-year. The sale will increase Hope’s natural gas customer base by 10%.