APCo issues base rate refunds in Va.

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Customers should see credit on next electric bill

About 40 percent of Appalachian Power’s Virginia residential customers will see a credit on their next electric bill, the company said Monday.
The credit is the result of the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s July order in the company’s 2009 base rate case request in which the SCC approved a rate lower than what the company temporarily collected on an interim basis last winter.
In the weeks since the SCC’s order, Appalachian re-calculated every billing period for every customer at the approved rate to determine if the customer is due a refund.
About 180,000 of current residential customers will get a refund. Most are about $11 and all refunds include interest, the company said.
The last time the company issued a refund was in early 2009 and the average residential refund in that case was $4.
Appalachian collected an interim rate from Dec. 2 to Feb. 23. In February, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation requiring the company to suspend interim rates and establish a timeline for the SCC to issue an order in the pending case. The interim rates were suspended for Feb. 24-July 31.
Any over-collection is being returned to customers. “There are customers who underpaid during this period; however, according to Appalachian’s commitment when the legislation was passed, the company will not collect that amount,” APCo said in a news release. Based on the SCC’s final approved rates, this amounts to about $4.7 million.
“Residential customers most likely to get a refund are those who consumed higher amounts of electricity in the weeks when the interim rates were in effect and used lower amounts of energy during the suspension period,” said Jaime Beckelhimer, customer services manager.  
Under an older form of regulation, Appalachian was permitted to implement interim rates 150 days after filing a rate increase request if the SCC had not issued an order in the case.
There was no timeline for the SCC to act, so interim rates allowed the company to collect at the requested rate, subject to refund.
Refunds will begin appearing on bills issued Sept. 13. If a customer is due a refund, there will be a line item with the amount and a line item with the interest earned.
Appalachian will mail checks to customers who are due a refund and have discontinued electric service.
Customers may view the refund amount effect on their account by going to www.AppalachianPower.com. The site also provides information on payment options available to customers.