FirstEnergy, W. Virginia OK settlement over utilities' tree-trimming, fuel expenses

The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) has agreed to settlements for recovery of tree-trimming, higher-fuel and purchased-power expenses incurred by FirstEnergy subsidiaries Mon Power and Potomac Edison, the utilities said recently.

The state's cost-recovery process allows the two companies to adjust customer rates to account for fuel purchases and other expenses incurred by regular utility operations. FirstEnergy said neither it nor its subsidiaries take any profit from these rate changes.

Through the settlement, which involves the two utilities, the PSC, the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, the Consumer Advocate Division and the West Virginia Energy Users Group, the monthly bill for electricity customers who use approximately 1,000 kilowatt-hours would see an increase of approximately $9. These rates will begin to take effect at the beginning of 2016.

Tree-trimming efforts taken on by Mon Power and Potomac Edison have allowed both companies to lessen occurrences of tree- and vegetation-related outages. Trimming has been completed along approximately 7,000 miles of power lines and over approximately 19,000 acres.

Together, both companies serve approximately 525,000 customers within northern West Virginia and along the state’s eastern panhandle. FirstEnergy operates 10 electric distribution companies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virgina, Maryland, New York and Ohio.

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