Valley businesses ask for fair power hike

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Jessica Sabbath

A group of northern Shenandoah Valley businesses are asking the State Corporation Commission to provide a fair review of Allegheny Power’s request for a 29 percent increase.

Potomac Edison Co., a division of Greensburg, Pa.-based Allegheny Energy, asked the SCC for a 29 percent increase to cover the cost of purchasing power for its Virginia customers. The increase would recover $73 million the company expects to lose during the 12-month period starting July 1 because of soaring fuel costs.

Allegheny Power provides electricity to the northern Shenandoah Valley.

The SCC granted the power company an interim rate hike that raised average residential bills from $70 to more than $90. That decision can be reversed when the SCC makes its final decision. A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 21 in Richmond on the rate hike.

The company says that even the $73 million will not fully cover its needs. Allegheny has also given the SCC options to recover $90.3 million and $132.9 million. The company has said that without the rate increase, it will have trouble providing service to its Virginia customers.

Now 15 businesses are working with the Frederick County’s Industrial Development Authority to request a fair and manageable increase from the SCC. A similar group of businesses fought Allegheny Power’s 2007 request for a 25 percent increase, according to The Winchester Star. The SCC approved a 5.6 percent increase in December.

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