House Bill 2959, which is expected to be considered on the House floor Monday and Tuesday, would make it easier for monopoly utilities to raise our electric rates without due process or oversight.
These wealthy, out-of-state corporations want to put West Virginians on the hook for expensive energy generation that only the companies can own. Tell your legislators you don’t want higher electric bills and that West Virginians deserve energy freedom.
State law allows monopoly utilities to raise customer’s rates to cover the corporation’s increased costs for things they build to provide electricity. This practice is called “cost recovery.” The West Virginia Public Service Commission is the body that determines if a utility’s requests to build things that will increase rates is valid.
Each time a utility asks to build something it wants ratepayers to pay for, the PSC does a thorough review of the project’s costs, revenue, and profits, including whether ratepayers even need the thing the utility wants to build. This process gives commissioners and the public a full understanding of the situation.
HB 2959 would grant monopoly utilities cost recovery for projects without a full review from the PSC or the public. Ratepayers could be on the hook for investments in aging power plants that should be shut down to save ratepayers money.
This corporate handout for out-of-state utilities short circuits the process meant to protect West Virginians and their hard-earned money.
Historically, West Virginia’s electric rates — and bills — were some of the lowest in the nation. However, that’s no longer true. Since 2002, our electric rates have increased by 81%, and we have higher bills than most states now.
We don’t need laws that make it even easier for utilities to increase our rates even further.
Lawmakers are debating HB 2959 this week. They need to hear from us. It’s unfair to give more of our money to monopoly utilities. Tell your lawmakers that our electric bills are high enough.