ROCKY MOUNT, Va — Some customers say a proposed rate hike by Appalachian Power is "unfair".
The company wants to increase electric rates by 9.6% beginning early next year. A public hearing on the proposal was held Thursday night.
About 25 people came to the meeting at Franklin County High School's auditorium in Rocky Mount. A similar meeting was held Wednesday night in Abingdon by the State Corporation Commission.
Many customers say rates are already high and they're struggling to pay it.
"I am working hard to be energy efficient and to keep my costs within line and I am not succeeding because of the base rate that they have," said one woman.
Customer Michael Byrd pulled bills from 2006 and compared the rate to 2011.
"It went from 6 cents to 10 cents almost double in five years and with the economy the way its been in the past five years," says Byrd who lives in Boones Mill, "I feel like that's an unfair increase."
A spokesperson defended the rate increase calling it necessary.
"But the bottom line is that we are seeing tremendous cost pressures largely driven by the price of coal and coal generating electricity with coal but doing that a little bit more cleanly than in years past," says Todd Burns with Appalachian Power.