Charleston – According to an announcement, the Kanawha County Commission “vehemently opposes” a double-digit rate increase for Mountaineer Gas and Hope Gas customers. The increase was recently approved by the state Public Service Commission.
Mountaineer Gas customers are expected to see their bills increase by 15%, and Hope Gas customers are predicted to see a 28% increase.
The PSC granted the companies an interim purchased gas cost recovery rate effective December 1. That means Mountaineer Gas customers will be expected to pay $165.59 for 13,000 cubic feet of gas while Hope Gas customers will be expected to pay $173.89 for the same amount this winter.
A Kanawha Commission spokesperson said, “Right now, customers are already strained by inflation and the rising cost of utilities, among other everyday items like gasoline and groceries. This rate hike is yet another example of ‘sticker shock’ that customers will be facing.”
Mountaineer Gas and Hope Gas are the two largest natural gas utilities in West Virginia. The Kanawha Commission said the “will negatively impact the more than 300,000 customers these companies serve statewide.
Kanawha Commission President Kent Carper, a Democrat, said, “At the end of the day, utility bills have gone up over 100% in a short period of time. The Kanawha County Commission once again requests that the West Virginia legislature put a cap on utility rate increases statewide.”
Democrat Commissioner Ben Salango added, “Utility rate increases are always tough on customers, and these double-digit increases are devastating, especially during a time of record inflation.”
Republican Commissioner Lance Wheeler said, “It’s winter time, and people need to heat their homes. It’s becoming progressively more expensive to do so, and I agree that there should be a limit on rate increases that utility companies should follow.”