Public Service Commission

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The state’s topmost regulatory agency is giving a small, struggling Fayette County water utility 30 days before it forces a nationally funded, statewide provider to take over. 

On this West Virginia Morning, Secretary of State Mac Warner announced some voting policies this week in the run up to the general election in November. Specifically, voters will have to ask for an absentee ballot application instead of automatically receiving one in the mail. Also, in this show, we hear a report on a small, failing water utility in Fayette County.

Courtesy of Jessica Shockey

The West Virginia Public Service Commission is urging a small, struggling water utility in Fayette County to consider allowing a larger provider to take over its water assets, following requests from hundreds of customers over the last year.

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For the last three months, the West Virginia Public Service Commission has urged utilities not to shut off service to people who have missed payments.

Courtesy of Jessica Shockey

Jessica Shockey’s problems with her water started right after she moved from Fayetteville to the small, unincorporated coal town of Laurel Creek two years ago. She gutted and remodeled an old house she bought with her husband, replacing all of the plumbing, and spending more than $15,000 on new appliances.  

Kara Lofton / WVPB

Frontier Communications responded on Thursday to a recent audit regarding the quality of its landline phone service in West Virginia, which is regulated by the state Public Service Commission.

Kara Lofton / WVPB

Even after the information was made public earlier this month by a science and technology magazine, a debate continues in the West Virginia Public Service Commission as to whether commissioners should make fully public a lengthy audit into state’s main landline provider. 

Kara Lofton / WVPB

West Virginia’s main landline phone provider filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late on Tuesday.

The request, filed by Frontier Communications in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, is waiting on approval from a federal judge.

The long-awaited results of an investigation into Frontier Communications, the state’s primary landline provider, finds the company isn’t doing enough preventative maintenance work on its copper cable network for landline phones in West Virginia. 

Frontier Communications

As independent auditors continue their six-month review into Frontier Communications’ landline phone operations in West Virginia, staff working for the state Public Service Commission have noted some significant delays on the part of the telecommunications company. 

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

When the Grant County 911 center received a call about a house fire on Martin Road in late May, director Peggy Bobo Alt said it was already too late. 

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Mountaineer Gas Co. has asked the Public Service Commission for a rate increase.

A company in West Virginia says it's seeking to raise prices for customers by nearly $12 per month.

WSAZ-TV reports West Virginia American Water is asking the Public Service Commission to approve the 24 percent rate increase. The increase would add about $32 million to the company's revenue.

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The public will have a chance to comment on two power companies' proposal to purchase the Pleasants Power Station in West Virginia from Allegheny Energy Supply.

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West Virginia regulators are conducting a two-day hearing on Mountaineer Gas Co.'s proposed $45 million natural gas distribution line expansion in the Eastern Panhandle.

The hearing before the state Public Service Commission is set to begin Wednesday in Charleston.

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has granted West Virginia American Water Company a lower increase than it sought.

The commission said in a news release late Wednesday that it issued an order allowing a water rate increase of $18.17 million, or about 15.1 percent. The utility company had initially requested a rise of nearly twice that amount — $35.47 million.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia regulators have asked Appalachian Power to maintain infrastructure at a closed coal-fired power plant that could be used to convert the facility to natural gas in the future.

The Public Service Commission says in a Tuesday order that fully demolishing the Kanawha River Plant would rule out such a conversion.

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The Public Service Commission is conducting a three-day safety check of commercial vehicles on West Virginia highways.

The PSC's Transportation Enforcement Division plans to conduct the inspections Tuesday through Thursday.

American Electric Power
American Electric Power

State utility regulators have approved the $550 million transfer of an American Electric Power coal-fired power plant by a subsidiary.

Elk River Chemical spill
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State utility regulators are telling a regional water company to make more information public about how it responded to a January chemical spill.

  Mon Power and Potomac Edison are asking West Virginia regulators to increase the rates it charges its customers. The FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiaries said they submitted the request to the Public Service Commission for the $96 million rate increase on Wednesday.

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State regulators have ordered West Virginia American Water Company to continue participating in a series of local water extension projects.
Monday's ruling by the Public Service Commission came on a complaint filed by five public service districts and several other local agencies. The complaint alleged that West Virginia American Water improperly withdrew from partnerships to expand water service in various areas of the state.

West Virginia regulators have approved American Electric Power's plan to trim vegetation along distribution and transmission lines in the state.
The Public Service Commission had ordered electric companies in January 2013 to submit vegetation management plans. The order was in response to Superstorm Sandy and other severe weather in recent years that left thousands of customers without power.

State utility regulators have ordered West Virginia American Water to continue providing quarterly reports on the quality of its service.
     The Public Service Commission's order says the information will allow it to monitor whether the company's response to a Jan. 9 chemical spill has any lasting impact on its distribution infrastructure in the Kanawha Valley.

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The head of the Utility Workers Union of America is raising concerns that West Virginia American Water Co.'s leaky pipes may have allowed contaminated water from the Elk River chemical spill to seep into the ground.
     D. Michael Langford wrote to the state Public Service Commission on Thursday to point out West Virginia American's high rate of "unaccounted for water."

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The Public Service Commission's Consumer Advocate Division wants the agency to continue requiring West Virginia American Water to submit quarterly reports on service quality.
A 2011 order issued by the PSC requires the company to submit the reports through the fourth quarter of 2013. The Consumer Advocate Division asked the PSC on Wednesday to continue the requirement until further notice.

A new report says West Virginians paid 1.2 percent more for utilities in 2013 than in the previous year, primarily because of increases in natural gas and water rates.  
     The report released Wednesday by the Public Service Commission's Consumer Advocate Division says the average West Virginia utility customer paid $280.62 a month for gas, electricity, water and telephone service last year. In 2012, the average monthly cost was $277.22.

Ashton Marra reports on Senator Joe Manchin's bill that proposes a delay in the individual mandate as part of the Affordable Care Act, Cecelia Mason on electric billing issues in the Easter Panhandle, Clark Davis previews Marshall Women's Basketball season and The Pines perform "Rise Up and Be Lonely" on this Mountain Stage song of the week.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Public Service Commission got an earful from Eastern Panhandle electric customers unhappy with Potomac Edison’s billing practices during a public hearing Wednesday evening and Thursday morning in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Customers are upset because last winter and spring they received estimated monthly bills that were much higher than normal. In some cases the electric company did estimated readings several months in a row. Delegate Stephen Skinner (D-Jefferson) was among those who spoke during the hearing.

West Virginia Citizen Action Group says it will appeal the approval of a $1.1 billion deal for the sale of the Harrison Power Station.