The average monthly bill for customers of Wheeling Power and Appalachian Power will increase less than 50 cents a month, PSC spokeswoman Sarah Robertson said. The commission is allowing the companies to generate an extra $6.1 million in revenue. They had sought $16.7 million.
AEP does not know exactly how much monthly bills will rise, but said it will work out to about half of 1 percent, spokeswoman Jeri Matheny said.
The commission left open the possibility of additional rate increases later, saying AEP can come back to seek more if it can prove higher costs.
The extra money is supposed to go toward the cost of home energy audits, more efficient light bulbs and other efforts to reduce electricity consumption. Those programs and the higher rates are due to start March 11.
‘‘There is some cost to them to come out and audit your house,’’ said Byron Harris, head of the PSC’s Consumer Advocate Division.
‘‘The cost that they don’t get directly from you, they have to recover from other customers.’’
In theory — and in other states — rate increases for energy efficiency are cheaper than the cost of generating more power or buying it on the open market, Harris said.
‘‘The proof is whether or not paying you to save electricity is cheaper for me than if the company did nothing.’’
AEP’s West Virginia subsidiaries have nearly 440,000 customers in 24 counties.