FirstEnergy seeks rate increases

Published Aug 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm (Updated Aug 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm)

FirstEnergy Corp. is seeking more than eight percent increases in rates for subsidiaries Penn Power, West Penn Power, Met-Ed and Penelec to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

The rate proposals, filed Aug. 4, would have West Penn customers paying 14.7 percent more on residential power bills and would have a nearly 12 percent increase for Penn Power customers. Increases for commercial and industrial customers would be lower, according to filings with the Public Utility Commission.

FirstEnergy representatives wrote in the proposal this would be the first such rate increase for Penn Power in 26 years and the first increase in 20 years for West Penn Power.

The proposed rate increases cover electricity produced for customers, not supply rates, which have fluxed over the years and are not regulated by the PUC.

Despite FirstEnergy asking for rate increases to take effect in October, customers won’t find out at least until May 2015.

“The company is required to give 60 days notice, and we (the PUC) have to suspend the proposals for seven months. So that collectively puts us at a decision this spring,” PUC spokesperson Robin Tilley said.

Tilley said the PUC will investigate if the rate increases are justified and will schedule public hearings in the fall.

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