PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — As prices across the board skyrocket, utility companies consider raising their rates. But like many, there are those in Mercer County who say they can not afford to pay higher electric bills.

West Virginians may pay more for their electricity, starting in September. Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power companies, which serve almost 470,000 West Virginians, asked the State Public Service Commission to approve two rate increases.

Appalachian spokesman Phil Moye said a rate hike will help pay for infrastructure. The company said it has to make the request to combat the growing amount of money it costs to power the state.

Those in Princeton said the proposed hike is an unwelcomed burden.

“I just don’t think it’s a very good thing, especially for our elderly and those that are on fixed incomes. It’s going to be very hard for them to afford anything. I mean food is most important and food prices have gone up. And fuel has gone up, and I just don’t think it’s right,” said Dolly Lane, the owner of Dolly’s Diner.

One proposed rate hike adds about $18.41 to the average residential user’s bill each month. The second hike is a raise in the basic rate. It adds $1.39 to the bill.

Appalachian asked commercial customers to pay $2.84 more for their basic fee every month. Industrial users are asked to pay $1,450 more.

Experts said in 2022, it costs more to buy a house, buy clothes, buy a car, and buy a computer. This leaves many to wonder how they can afford to pay more for their utilities.

“Us seniors ain’t getting a real good deal here lately. Our checks ain’t going up hardly no more. Gas is going up. Electric’s going up. When you see electric bills three and four hundred dollars I mean you’ve got to give up something. And that’s ridiculous,” said Jackie Conner, a senior in Princeton.