In 1978, the Virginia Municipal League (VML) and the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) created a Steering Committee to represent the interests of the localities in the Appalachian Power Company (APCo) service area in connection with the purchase of electric power from APCo. For the past 42 years, the Steering Committee has worked to further the best interests of those localities by providing legal counsel to negotiate contractual terms with APCo on behalf of the localities and to participate in rate-making proceedings involving APCo before the Virginia State Corporation Commission, all for the purpose of ensuring that APCo charges the localities rates that are fair, just, and reasonable.
The structure of the Steering Committee is designed to provide a significant financial benefit to each locality in APCo’s service area by (a) providing experienced counsel and experts in the complex field of utility accounting who will challenge APCo’s contractual and other rate-making proposals, assumptions, and calculations where appropriate and work diligently to keep rates paid by localities as low as possible, and (b) spreading the cost of these services among all localities in the service area. Without this structure, each locality would have to retain its own independent legal counsel and experts for these services at a much higher cost.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS TO LOCALITIES:
Multiple examples of the financial benefits to localities arising from the Steering Committee’s representation in recent years are highlighted in the document found at the following link: (attached document)
CURRENT STEERING COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES ON BEHALF OF LOCALITIES:
- APCo’s 2020 Triennial Base Rate Case Before the State Corporation Commission. On March 31, 2020, APCo filed its application with the SCC for the 2020 Triennial Review of APCo’s rates, terms, and conditions that must go into effect by February 1, 2021. The new rates will be based on APCo’s earnings and expenses during 2017-2019. Among other things, APCo is seeking to recover an increase of $65 million (rounded) in revenues with a 6.5% increase in rates for all rate classes other than industrial customers. APCo is also seeking changes to the terms and conditions for various rates, including increasing the residential basic service charge from $7.96 to $14.00. Counsel for the Steering Committee will be actively participating in the hearing before the SCC and challenging APCo’s proposed rate increases and underlying arguments to the extent that they are not fair, just, and reasonable because they ultimately impact the localities. Indeed, the rates, terms, and conditions established in the 2020 Triennial Review for jurisdictional customers establish a baseline for the negotiation of future rates paid by the localities in APCo’s service area.
- Contract Negotiations with APCo. Negotiations with APCo for a new contract with the localities began last fall and are still in progress. The current contract expires on June 30, 2020. If new rates are not established by June 30, 2020, the rates in effect on June 30, 2020, will continue until an agreement is reached on a new contract. In addition to establishing new rates, the negotiations involve several possible new renewable energy options for the localities and other improvements, such as LED street lighting.
Each locality should have a designated contact person for matters pertaining to the Steering Committee. If you need to update the designated contact person, please use the following link: Designated Contact Form.
For more information about the VML/VACO Steering Committee, please contact:
Steering Committee Vice Chair
Town of Blacksburg
Virginia Municipal League, Government Relations
Virginia Association of Counties, General Counsel