WV PSC Chairman Mike Albert has done it again. This time, he presented an opinion from “the bench” at the beginning of the three day hearing on FirstEnergy’s Harrison scheme. As the Commissioners often remind us in their orders, they are a quasi-judicial body. Apparently, Chairman Albert takes that “quasi” very seriously.
Here is Ken Ward’s account from the first day of hearings at the PSC:
But in lengthy opening remarks, Albert, a former utility company lawyer whose firm represents FirstEnergy, criticized what he said were inaccurate comments submitted to the PSC and reported by the media about the case. Albert did not provide any specific examples.
Hearings at the PSC are not designed as platforms for Commissioners to render their own personal opinions. The Commissioners, particularly the chairman, are in the role of judges here, and should take that role seriously. Mr. Albert, as Ward points out, has a history of working for power companies as an attorney, in particular Allegheny Energy, the predecessor of FirstEnergy in WV. One would think that a lawyer with this fact in his background would exercise some self control. Apparently not.
Mr. Albert’s direct criticism of participants in the case, average people who had taken the trouble to express their views about a significant issue of public import, is particularly ugly.
The Chairman’s term on the Commission ends on June 30. It is time for the Governor to begin looking for a replacement with a more serious dedication to his role as a WV PSC Commissioner.