A front page article in the March 14 edition of The Herald-Dispatch titled, “AEP to seek cost recovery after ice storms’ by Mike Tony was well-written and researched. I would like to add a few comments.
Appalachian Power did a fairly good job restoring power. I was lucky, my family taking refuge in a lab on the Marshall University campus for four days. Many more were not so lucky. I think of those with babies and the elderly suffering freezing temperatures with nowhere to go. Thanks also to the utility workers from out of state. I saw trucks in my neighborhood from Ohio and other Midwestern states.
Our state ranks the lowest in the country in electrical service, and we pay some of the highest prices for that service. American Electric Power has cut costs in the last several decades, closing local offices, and most importantly, not maintaining their lines, for instance by regularly pruning trees and brush, and not keeping their substations up-to-date. Out-of-state utility workers were appalled by our primitive system..
Now Appalachian Power is asking to recoup some $65 million in costs during this last catastrophe, forget repairing their dilapidated infrastructure, and are considering raising our utility bills. Should it not be the reverse — customers demanding compensation? Enough is enough. By the way, AEP profits in 2020 were in the tens of millions of dollars.
Like many, I request the municipal and state authorities to review the historic negligence of Appalachian Power before allotting any aid to the company, let alone approving any increase in our already exorbitant fees to keep our electrical power.
I have lived in many states in the USA and in many countries abroad. Power outages never or rarely occurred. In my Huntington neighborhood, about once every three months, rain or shine. And it disrupts our lives immensely. And I am by no means alone.