Appalachian Power initially proposed a 17 percent rate hike in May 2010 for residential customers to recover about $155.5 million the company spent during the storm, as well as recouping higher costs to maintain and improve power plants, substations and transmission lines.
As part of a settlement with the PSC's Consumer Advocate Division and the power company's largest customers, Appalachian Power lowered the increase to 5.36 percent and $60 million in revenue in December 2010.
State regulators modified that settlement agreement and residential rates increased by 4.6 percent on March 31, 2011.
That previous rate increase will generate an additional $51 million in revenue for Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power. Both are subsidiaries of American Electric Power.
Appalachian Power spent more than $18 million during the December 2009 winter storm, which the company will pay down over the next seven years.
Patton told the Gazette in a July 2012 interview, "History has shown that we have gone to the commission in instances like this."
Harris said if it weren't for AEP's desire to transfer ownership of its coal-fired plants -- John Amos, near St. Albans, and Mitchell, near Moundsville -- to Appalachian Power, "there is no question that rates would be going down."
"Their proposal is, 'Oh, we'll keep rates where they are and that would pay for Mitchell and Amos,' which [the PSC] hasn't decided we would take yet," Harris said.
Patton wrote in the letter that the transfer of the coal-fired plants "is not expected to have a significant impact on rates."
"This transfer allows us to move from being a renter to an owner," Patton wrote. "It is the least-cost, least-risk option to meet our power generation needs."
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.