Say No to Higher Electricity Prices

Since former President Barack Obama began his war on coal and affordable electricity, power prices for West Virginians have soared. Now, apparently taking up where Obama left off, a major utility serving our area apparently wants to sock it to us some more.

Between 2008, when Obama was elected, and 2016, when voters replaced him with President Donald Trump, the average residential cost of electricity in the United States went up from 11.26 cent per kilowatt hour to 12.55 cents.

Here in the Mountain State, the increase as Obama policies shut down coal mines and coal-fired power plants was more shocking. It went from 7.06 cents in 2008 to 11.44 cents in 2016.

It may go up even more, if Appalachian Power has its way. The company serves customers in Ohio and Marshall counties, as well as southern West Virginia and western Virginia.

Appalachian Power wants to buy two wind farms, one in Greenbrier County and the other in Ohio. To finance the purchase, the company wants to tack an $84.6 million construction surcharge onto customers’ bills. It would be spread out over 10 years.

Virginia regulators said no. Appalachian Power did not need additional generation capacity, the Virginia State Corporation Commission ruled.

Now the West Virginia Public Service Commission has the utility’s request in its hands.

Wind power is not the alternative Obama claimed it is, of course. Once again: When the wind isn’t blowing, wind farms are not generating electricity. The distribution grid on which we all rely for reliable power, 24/7, 365 days a year, simply cannot be dependent on either wind or solar generation.

If Appalachian Power officials see a need for additional power, we have a suggestion. There are coal-fired generating stations, including the Willow Island plant near St. Marys, on the market. Even with the added burden of Obama-era regulations, they should be capable of providing reliable power at a reasonable price, while meeting air quality regulations.

“We are continuing our transition to an energy company of the future,” commented an Appalachian Power official in explaining the wind farm plan.

Many West Virginians, having seen all too much of a future in which our electric rates have skyrocketed, may well wonder why we should pay even higher rates.

The West Virginia PSC should follow its Virginia counterpart’s wise decision and say no to Appalachian’s proposal.

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