Over the last few months, I have been following the first ever attempt by the WV PSC to establish reliability standards for the WV subsidiaries of AEP and FirstEnergy, as well as all the smaller power companies in the state. As PSC senior engineer Jim Ellers told the Commissioners back in 2010, WV is one of only 16 states in the US that has no performance standards for reliability for supposedly regulated power companies.
Now, that is about to change. Last week, AEP’s and FirstEnergy’s WV companies agreed to accept the standards proposed by the PSC staff which would actually result in an improvement in power company reliability. As I noted in my July post, AEP and FirstEnergy had proposed standards that would have guaranteed more of the same lousy reliability that we have “enjoyed” over the past decades.
Last week, FirstEnergy’s companies filed a copy of a settlement that the power companies have reached with the PSC staff and the PSC’s Consumer Advocate. In that settlement agreement, the power companies have accepted the standards proposed by the PSC staff, and set 2014 as the first year of implementation. The companies can come back to ask for revised standards in 2018.
This is a real milestone for our state, although we lag far behind other states in terms of basic reliability of service. PSC staff engineer Don Walker deserves a lot of credit for making such a good case in his report for a workable system that will result in real improvement.