With electrical rate increases of over 40% in the pipeline for New Vrindaban, my faith in the idea of installing some alternative energies remains unshaken.

What I need is a researcher to get some quotes. I mean a serious researcher, not just someone to spend a half hour on Google and then send me three links. Like a purchasing department researcher.

Anyone interested? Contact me if you are.


WHEELING – The West Virginia Public Service Commission this week gave the green light for American Electric Power to raise residential customers’ rates by about 7.4 percent, effective today.

The increase, which will affect tens of thousands of customers in the Northern Panhandle, is the second stage of a planned four-year phase-in, with additional hikes of about 8 percent per kilowatt-hour expected each of the next two years, according to AEP officials.

The decision to grant the request came despite nearly 900 individual letters of protest and numerous petitions of protest filed with the PSC between March 2 and Tuesday, according to information from the PSC.

AEP now will charge its residential customers 8.6 cents per kilowatt-hour – up from the 8 cents it previously charged. That means a customer’s average monthly bill, based on 1,000 kilowatt-hours of usage, will increase from $80.47 to $86.40. In 2000, the average monthly bill was $70.91.

In its request for a rate increase, AEP cited increased coal costs and other production expenses incurred during 2008-09. The rate increase will provide an additional $95.5 million in revenue for AEP, which last year laid off 2,000 workers throughout the company.

According to the PSC, the original projected increase in revenue for this phase of the rate hike was $165 million.

The power company and others in the area could be facing more costs in the coming years as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeks to tighten restrictions on smog and other emissions from coal-fired power plants.

In 2009, the EPA proposed a decrease in the allowable levels of ground-level ozone – the main component of smog. Last month, it proposed tighter limits on sulfur dioxide.

Fact Box

Not the Same Rate Increase Request

This increase is separate from a 17 percent base rate increase AEP requested in May, revenue from which could be used for distribution lines, labor costs and other infrastructure. The commission has until March to decide on this hike for customers.