WV PSC Chairman Albert Is Chairman of PSC, Not WV Citizens

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.

3 thoughts on “WV PSC Chairman Albert Is Chairman of PSC, Not WV Citizens

  1. Bravo, Bill – you hit the nail on the head! And you could have gone further by pointing out that Mr. McKinney’s term ended more than two years ago. Has Gov. Tomblin adopted his predecessor’s strategy of leaving folks in appointed positions beyond their terms – without reappointment – in order to control them …?

    Gah! No wonder West Virginia citizens are either cynical or utterly disengaged.

  2. None of us should have been surprised at the comments of Mr. Albert in opening the hearings yesterday on the Harrison power Station transfer. I have made my request that Tomblin not reappoint Albert to the PSC, but that is rather like performing a certain bodily function into a stiff headwind. I have made my declaration for the FIVE POINT PROGRAM to deal with energy issues in WV.
    If Mr. Albert leaves the PSC, where he makes a paltry $95,000 per year plus expenses, he will doubtless find a cushy retainer from one of the utilities he has been “regulating.” He may even be delegated the “task” of putting together a “lucrative” Credit Default Swap or other similar instrument to acquire Patriot Coal, which has been “rescued” from bad management by the Bankruptcy court of St. Louis (home of MONSANTO), the burden placed upon the UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA.
    In another blog, a few of us discussed the term “APPALACHIA” (long third “A” or short third “A”, take your pick). In that article, I stated that “APPALACHIA” has broadened to include the Farm Belt, the Rust Belt and the urban poor, and should be properly called “CORPORATIA.”
    The WV Public Service Commission and the St. Louis Bankruptcy Court have taken two giant steps toward empowering THE UNITED STATES OF CORPORATIA.

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