West Virginia Utility Rates Surge Despite Fossil Fuel Abundance

In a state that produces so much coal and natural gas, most people would never expect these sorts of utility rate increases.

Drill rig next to a coal ash pit

An August 28 story in the Wall Street Journal begins with the headline, West Virginia’s Coal Dependence Drives Up Consumer Electric Bills – State generates more electricity from coal than any other in the U.S.

HUNTINGTON, W.VA. – Coal used to keep utility rates low in West Virginia. More recently, it has caused them to rise faster than in most other states. Jason Zeigler said his monthly electricity bill for his 2,000-square-foot, four bedroom house on a hilly street just outside the city on the Ohio River hit $368.91 this spring. Like his neighbor, Mr. Zeigler said he has spent thousands of dollars to buy more efficient appliances, adding insulation to his attic and switching to light bulbs that use less energy. His bills are still rising in a state that generates 91% of its electricity from coal, more than any other state.

Reporter Kris Maher | Wall Street Journal | August 28, 2022

Another story in the Herald Dispatch issues a similar warning on natural gas, Surging Natural Gas Prices Will Drive Up Customers’ Utility Bills

CHARLESTON, W.VA. – Mountaineer Gas Co. has a little over 58% of the total natural gas customers in the state and is requesting a 73.72% increase from $5.67 per mcf to $9.85. Hope Gas/Dominion represents 30.43% of the state’s customers and is requesting a 173% increase from $3.409 per mcf to $9.305. Smaller natural gas companies are requesting increases ranging from around 124% to 32%. Natural gas prices have increased 21.6% over the past year. The EIA also reports that the large increase in natural gas fuel costs over the past year is driving up wholesale electricity prices throughout the United States.

Reporter Fred Pace | Herald Dispatch | August 24, 2022

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