CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia electric utilities that want to recover high energy costs would have until the end of this year to seek refinancing bonds.
That’s the change the House Finance Committee made Monday to a bill that would allow such bonding requests.
Appalachian Power is urging support for the bill. It cites $350 million in costs from increasing coal prices. The recession’s effect on demand and the loss of a major industrial customer are also factors.
The utility says bonds will provide the up-front cash needed to avoid a 30 to 40 percent rate increase.
But several speakers at a public hearing last week say the pending bill should not be open-ended in allowing for bonds.
Those speakers also want long-term planning by utilities that embrace other energy sources.