Six people, including four legislators, testified this morning in Richmond during the final public hearing on the Appalachian Power rate increase now pending before the State Corporation Commission.
The SCC has held two other hearings in Abingdon, and Rocky Mount.
During brief remarks at the start of the session, Judge Judith Jagdmann said the three Commissioners are "very much aware " that rising electric rates are a hardship on people living in Appalachian Power's service area. She said, "within the bounds of the law, we will do everything possible to make sure any rate increase that results from this case is consistent with carrying out the law and minimizes the impact on citizens as much as possible."
The witnesses included four members of the General Assembly: Del. Don Merricks/(R) Pittsylvania Co., Sen. Phil Puckett/(D) Russell Co., Sen. Roscoe Reynolds/(D) Henry Co. and Del. Ward Armstrong/(D) Martinsville. All four spoke in opposition to Appalachian's request, encouraging the commissioners to deny or limit any increase. Merricks asked the commissioners to "send a message that enough is enough and give our citizens and businesses some much needed breathing room from higher utility rates." Armstrong told the judges, "it's not so much about papers and petitions as it is flesh and blood, and the human face on this thing.