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

MORE: Bills in Britain Will Soar 80% as Energy Crisis Crashes Into Europe
Household gas and electricity bills will nearly double in October. France has capped gas and electricity rates, subsidized the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel and spent 45 billion euros ($45 billion) to help hard-hit families. Germany has moved to take command of its energy markets, subsidizing new liquefied gas import terminals and bailing out one of the largest utilities, Uniper, when it ran into financial trouble.

China’s Record Drought Is Drying Rivers and Feeding Its Coal Habit
A record-setting drought and an 11-week heat wave are causing broad disruption in a region that depends on dams for more than three-quarters of its electricity generation. Reduced electricity from hydroelectric dams has prompted China to burn more coal, a large contributor to air pollution and to greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Many cities around the country have been forced to impose rolling blackouts or limit energy use.

‘This is beyond imagination’: Poland homeowners are lining up for days, sleeping in their cars to buy fuel — and coal stocks are still white-hot due to the demand
Analysts point out that the supply and demand dynamics for coal could lead to its glorious revival. “And supply [of coal] is tight. Why? Because nobody’s building capacity and markets will remain tight given the weather and COVID. So that market will stay higher for longer, probably well into the 2023 calendar year.”

Electric Boat Builder Pure Watercraft To Locate in Brooke County, WV

Leave a Reply