Business, Energy, State Government

PSC approves rate hike for Mon Power/Potomac Edison Vegetation Management Program

MORGANTOWN — The state Public Service Commission announced on Tuesday that it has approved a rate hike for FirstEnergy sisters Mon Power and Potomac Edison to continue their Vegetation Management Program.

The order, filed Monday, approves a joint stipulation and settlement agreement filed Nov. 28.

The settlement approves an increase of $16,949,685 to take effect Jan. 1, 2024, and $16,989,110 to take effect Jan. 1, 2025. This reflects an overall 1% increase aggregated against all their customer classes.

For the average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, the companies project a hike of $2.47 per month, raising the bill from $120.20 to $122.67.

The settlement was reached between the companies, the PSC Legal Division, the Consumer Advocate Division and the West Virginia Energy Users Group.

The case involved company plans to maintain vegetation control along transmission and distribution lines.

“No parties raised significant issues with the filing,” the order said. “The parties have represented that the joint stipulation was a fair and reasonable settlement.”

The companies filed for the increase on Aug. 21, 2023.

The program is designed to control vegetation along distribution and transmission lines to ensure safe and reliable operation of their system. The companies filed to update their vegetation management surcharge every two years.

From January 2019 through December 2022, the program covered 29,430 miles, trimming almost 2.3 million trees, removing 552,284 trees, and clearing or spraying 98,042 acres.

Along with the $2.47 vegetation management surcharge starting Jan. 1, the average residential power user will see a $3.77 increase during the first period of the ENEC rate hike, starting March 27.

Still before the PSC is a third rate-increase case: a base-rate case, filed May 31, requesting $207.5 million, including for infrastructure and their energy assistance program. The hike would cost the average residential customer $18.07 per month — raising a bill from $120.20 to $138.27, a 15% hike. The overall proposed increase across all customer types — residential, commercial, industrial and street lighting — is 13%.

A virtual public hearing is set for this case on Jan. 22. An evidentiary hearing is set to begin on Jan. 24.


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