READING - FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiaries Pennsylvania Electric Co., Pennsylvania Power Co., West Penn Power Co. and Metropolitan Edison Co. filed comprehensive distribution rate plans on Aug. 4 with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
For Penelec, this is the first base rate case filed in eight years.
FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania utilities currently have the lowest average rates in the state among investor-owned electric distribution companies. If approved, the new average rates would still be lower than the average rates charged today by other Pennsylvania utilities. The proposed rate plan would result in an average bill increase of $16.59 per month for residential customers.
Since 2006, FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania utilities have invested more than $1.8 billion for service-related enhancement projects for customers that have not been recovered through the rate process.
"Over the years, with strict cost management and careful planning, we have enhanced service reliability for our customers while holding the line on electric rates," said Dave Karafa, president of Pennsylvania operations for FirstEnergy. "Our proposed rate plans are needed in order to make critical customer enhancements, including infrastructure enhancements, by using technology to help reduce the number of outages and the duration and number of affected customers when an outage does occur. The plans are designed to bring our revenues in line with our costs, while minimizing the impact to our customers."
FirstEnergy's base rate plans benefit customers by supporting continued service reliability investments to the local distribution networks that deliver electricity to the homes and businesses in our communities. If approved, planned enhancements would include replacing circuits, enhancing substation security, inspecting and replacing poles, and enhancing tree trimming activities. FirstEnergy will also continue to build infrastructure necessary to support state-of-the-art technologies that can be operated remotely in order to help prevent some outages from occurring, reduce the number of affected customers when an outage does occur, and shorten outage duration. The rate requests for each utility will include assistance to low-income customers.
If approved, the companies requested new rates take effect Oct. 3.
Penelec requested an increase of $119.8 million or approximately 8.6 percent over current rates. If approved, the total bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month would increase 16.3 percent or $19.58 for a new monthly bill of $140.04. The bill for a commercial customer using 40 kilowatts for 250 hours would increase 7.3 percent or $70.59 for a total bill of $1,043.98. The bill for an industrial customer using 20 megawatts for 474 hours would increase .9 percent or $4,954.38 to $579,674.81.
Penn Power and West Penn Power requested similar increases at 8.7 and 8.4 percent respectively, while Met-Ed requested an 11.5 percent increase.
For additional information on the plan, call (800) 545-7741.