After West Virginia American Water's 7 percent compromise rate increase settlement was announced Tuesday, Consumer Advocate Division Director Byron Harris basically said, "It could have been worse."
"Nobody's happy to have an increase in rates, but a 7 percent increase is better than a 20 percent increase like the company filed for," Harris said that afternoon.
Instead of about a $10 increase in their monthly bill, customers will likely see about a $3 increase.
The sentiment that it could have been worse had the company actually got what it asked for made me think back on the biggest case the commission dealt with last year: Century Aluminum's request to pass costs from its Ravenswood plant to other power customers.
Century proposed tying its power costs to the price of aluminum and also wanted regular ratepayers to help cover its costs when aluminum prices fell below $2,400 a ton.
The PSC balked at that idea. But what if it hadn't?
According to Appalachian Power's filings last year, if the price of aluminum would have stayed where it was - $1,957 a ton - the average ratepayer would have had to chip in an extra $12.65 on each month's bill to make up the company's $61.5 million gap.
Century officials said at the time that aluminum prices were at a rare low and prices would eventually rebound.
Aluminum prices are more than $200 cheaper now, trading around $1,700 - a price not seen since the 2009 recession.
Though Century said this was unlikely, Appalachian Power went ahead and ran the numbers in case it did.