Soaring West Virginia Electricity Prices Trigger Standoff Over Coal Power

"West Virginia regulators accuse American Electric Power of driving up costs with skimpy use of its coal plants. Others say the high costs of those aging plants are a growing burden to citizens in one of the nation's poorest states."

"West Virginia is a standout in its allegiance to coal power.

In the United States as a whole, coal’s share of the electricity mix has fallen from around half in 2005 to just 22 percent as the nation has turned to cheaper natural gas and increasingly, renewable energy. By contrast, West Virginia generated 91 percent of its power from coal in 2021—with no other state even coming close. While uneconomic coal plants across the nation were being shut down, West Virginia even approved a transfer of responsibility for several major coal plants from corporate shareholders to the state’s ratepayers.

Critics of West Virginia’s pro-coal policies say the results are now evident in the state’s skyrocketing utility bills. Household customers of one of the state’s largest utilities, American Electric Power (AEP), have seen their electricity rates rise 180 percent in the past 15 years, five times the average increase for ratepayers in the United States. "

Marianne Lavelle reports for Inside Climate News November 20, 2022.

Source: Inside Climate News, 11/21/2022