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PSC earmarks $250k for low-income electric customers

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A state proposal to designate funds to a utility program for low-income customers has received approval and is now officially earmarked for implementation.

According to a news release from the Public Service Commission, in March 2012 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Constellation Energy Commodities Group entered into a stipulation and consent agreement that resolved a FERC investigation of Constellation manipulating the New York wholesale power market from September 2007 to December 2008. 

As part of the settlement, Constellation agreed to pay a civil penalty of $245 million, which included creating a fund to benefit electric customers in the affected regions, including West Virginia.  

Monday, the PSC announced it has earmarked its share of this one-time payment of nearly $250,000 to provide assistance to low-income electric customers in West Virginia.

The Public Service Commission proposed, and the FERC approved, a plan to designate the PSC's portion of the money to the Dollar Energy Fund Inc., which will distribute the funds through its West Virginia Utility Assistance Program. 

Each year thousands of West Virginians benefit from the Utility Assistance Program.  During the 2011-2012 program year, 36,349 electric customers in West Virginia received more than $7 million in bill payment assistance, an average of $112.06 per customer.  

The recently earmarked funds will continue to benefit low-income West Virginians struggling to keep their electricity on.