CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) West Virginia customers could be seeing a significant rise in their electric bills.

According to WOWK, Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power submitted a request for a $297 million upward adjustment rate in its Expanded Net Energy Cost rate.

On April 19, 2022, the company submitted the ENEC filing to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia which reimburses the company dollar-for-dollar for coal and natural gas used to fuel the power plants and for purchasing power.

According to the company and reported by WOWK, the current monthly bill for a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours is $155.66 but if the filing is approved, it would add $18.41 to that amount bringing the cost to $174.07 increasing by 12%.

The company says however that it regularly files ENEC adjustments to make sure that the amount included in rates “accurately reflects past and ongoing expenditures.”

“This comes on the heels of a request for an increase to rates filed in March of 2022. Our citizens cannot afford any additional rate increases by the public utility companies. I am initially calling for a moratorium on these back-to-back rate hikes. I am also calling upon the West Virginia Legislature to exert oversight on public utilities and stop this ridiculous, continuous attack on the people of West Virginia,” Commission President Kent Carper told WOWK.

Company officials say that the reason for this new filing is due to the rising cost of energy and fuel in recent months.

“With the steep and rapid rise in energy and fuel costs over the past several months, the ENEC revenues we collect from customers have been and are projected to be significantly less than the cost of the energy provided to customers. The longer that goes on the greater the deficit grows, and that’s what necessitates this request. It is difficult to make this filing, especially when inflationary pressures are burdening families on so many fronts. However, if the unrecovered ENEC amount continues to grow it will become even more difficult to deal with in the future,” Appalachian Power President Chris Beam tells WOWK.

In a statement released by the Kanawha County Commission, they call the increases a “record high and unprecedented rate hike request” and continue to say that Appalachian Power’s rate increases “need to end.”

If approved, the rate adjustment would start on September 1, 2022.