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VIRGINIA POWER ASKS TO INCREASE CUSTOMER RATES IN OCTOBER

 VIRGINIA POWER ASKS TO INCREASE CUSTOMER RATES IN OCTOBER
 RICHMOND, Va., May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- To resolve uncertainty over current rates and keep up with increasing growth-related costs, Virginia Power today asked the State Corporation Commission for a $165.9 million rate increase that would take effect in late October.
 The proposed 5.2 percent increase over current rates would raise a typical residential customer's monthly statement by $4.27, starting on Oct. 27. This amount would be collected subject to refund with interest pending the SCC's final decision.
 "This base rate filing is necessary, in part, because two previous rate cases are still unresolved," said James T. Rhodes, president and chief executive officer. "We are hopeful that the two pending cases can be resolved in a manner that would help us offset the need for higher base rates."
 The SCC is currently determining the amount to be refunded from the company's 1990 rate case, which was appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court. The company's 1991 rate case is suspended before the SCC pending resolution of the 1990 case.
 "The uncertainty as to what the financial impact on the company will be from the resolution of these two cases dictates that the company file new rates based on the current cost of serving our customers," Rhodes said.
 The $165.9 million sought in today's general rate filing includes $163.3 million for capacity payments for more than 1,400 megawatts of non-utility generation. Virginia Power sought electricity from non-utility generators through an SCC-approved competitive bidding plan designed to hold down the cost of new capacity. Virginia Power is also adding Chesterfield 8, a combined-cycle, natural gas-fired unit, to its generation mix this summer.
 These growth-related costs have been partially offset by the company's cost-cutting during the past three years. Since 1989, Virginia Power has cut its planned budgets by about $500 million and reduced its staffing level by 1,000 positions.
 "We are working very hard to hold down our costs, but we still are facing expenses for new plant and equipment to serve our growing customer base," said Rhodes. Virginia Power serves 1.8 million customers, including nearly 160,000 new customers added in the past five years.
 -0- 5/29/92
 /CONTACT: James W. Norvelle, Karen D. Russell, or William H. Byrd, Virginia Power, 804-771-6115/
 (D) CO: Virginia Power ST: Virginia IN: UTI SU:


CM -- CH006 -- 5322 05/29/92 16:37 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 29, 1992
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