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Lower fuel rate sought

November 08, 1999

Allegheny Power customers in Maryland may see a slight decrease in their bills next month, under a rate reduction request before the Public Service Commission.

The company has asked the PSC to decrease its fuel rate from 1.195 cents per kilowatt hour to 1.118 cents per kilowatt hour.

If approved, the average customer using 1,000 kilowatts of electricity would see a 75-cent reduction in their monthly bill effective Dec. 7.

The fuel rate is a small line item on Maryland customers' bills that reflects the cost of fuel used to generate electricity. The rest of the bill contains charges for generation and distribution.

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"A lot of it hinges on the cost of the coal and if there's any volatility there," said company spokesman Guy A. Fletcher.

Allegheny Energy Inc., which does business in Maryland as Allegheny Power, generates 87 percent of its electricity by burning coal, he said.

The Hagerstown-based company was able to ask for the decrease because of greater operating efficiencies, lower fuel costs and increased sales to nonaffiliated companies, the utility said.

The fuel rate line item will be eliminated July 1, with the phasing in of the electricity deregulation law passed by the Maryland General Assembly last year.

- Laura Ernde

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