Legislature Holding Hearings on PSC Response to FirstEnergy Billing Failures

On Monday, September 23, Senate Government Organization Committee Chairman Herb Snyder will make good on a promise he made to Potomac Edison customers back in May.  Subcommittee A of the Joint Government Organization Committee, co-chaired by Sen. Snyder, will hold a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee room at the State Capitol, room 208W at 3:00 p.m.  The only item on the committee’s agenda will be “Discussion of the study regarding electric utilities billing practices.”  Locations of interim committee meetings often shift around, so here is a link to the committee’s agenda so you can confirm the time and location up until the meeting time.

This is not a hearing for public comment.  The committee will ask several people close to the problems to testify about the situation.  Representatives from the WV PSC and the PSC’s Consumer Advocate Division, as well as someone from FirstEnergy, the Ohio-based parent of Mon Power and Potomac Edison, will likely testify.

Here is a link to a list of the members of Subcommittee A.  By clicking on their names, you can find their phone numbers and email addresses.  If you have questions you would like them to ask at Monday’s hearing, call or email them and let them know.

If you are a Mon Power or Potomac Edison customer, and wonder why your electric company can’t manage to send you an accurate bill even once in a while, you might want to attend the hearing at 3:00 on Monday, Sept. 23 at the State Capitol.

Cross posted from Coalition for Reliable Power

 

9 thoughts on “Legislature Holding Hearings on PSC Response to FirstEnergy Billing Failures

  1. Bill,
    Since Charleston is not in the service area of either of those companies, why would it be too much to ask that the legislative hearings be held closer to the ratepayers who were ill-used?

    • If you look at the list of subcommittee A members, you will see that they are from all over the state. Interim Committee meeting are held once a month, and members have a lot of other legislative business to conduct. Monday’s meeting takes place within the context of a lot of other legislative activity, so members need to be near their office staff people and other legislators.

      Also remember that while the public uproar started in Potomac Edison’s service area in the EP, Mon Power’s territory extends as far south as Hinton and as far west as Parkersburg. Mon Power’s billing has been just as chaotic as Potomac Edison’s. This is not just an Eastern Panhandle problem.

  2. Excellent! We need to support Senator Snyder and the committee’s contention that something is amiss at Potomac Edison/Mon Power. Please let them all know that you support the investigation and that the problems are not resolved. Otherwise the only voices the Committee will hear will come from Potomac Edison/Mon Power and the PSC (who insisted there was no problem until Senator Snyder set them straight).

      • Sorry, Danny. You are wrong. This hearing is not designed for public input. It is for the agencies to respond to legislators’ questions. The most effective thing that rate payers can do is to email questions you want asked at the hearing to the legislators on subcommittee A of the joint Government Organization Committee. If we want to be effective, that’s what we have to do in the next couple of days. Just like John did to Craig Blair and a number of other subcommittee members.

        If you aren’t interested in learning how the process works, then you won’t be part of it.

      • Bill,the most correct thing you said is “this hearing is not designed for public input.” I believe this is a window dressing, after which FIRST ENERGY, Mon Power, and Pot Ed., will receive a pat on the back and a consoling “We’re sorry you got caught. We’ll change this so you’ll never be in the wrong again.”
        I will be glad to be wrong.
        Though it would be beyond the reach of staff and offices, I do not think meeting the ratepayers on their own turf is too much to ask, even if these are not “public input hearings.” I have become much too cynical to expect anything other than “whitewash” from Charleston.
        Throughout my lifetime, Kanawha County has been first in line, and the other 54 were excess baggage.

      • I’m sorry you feel neglected. If you let your cynicism keep you from a great opportunity to educate legislators, I can’t help you.

        I hate to break it to you, but everyone in WV feels neglected by politicians in Charleston. Come to central WV some time. We refer to it as “WV’s black hole”. We have the worst economic numbers in the state, but no one cares. Our state senators are so gerrymandered that we here in Calhoun County are represented by two senators from the northern panhandle.

  3. Good Morning Craig,

    I have been notified of a meeting of the joint committee on Gov Org. that you are a member of this Monday during Sept. interim’s that deals with Potomac Edison’s billing practices. As you know there was a huge public outcry back in the first quarter from your constituents concerning the sudden inflated bills that they were receiving in the mail from their public utility, many of them on budget plans, senior citizens, and folks who could ill afford the sticker shock of a huge electric bill

    The excuses the company offered in response to this outcry were pathetic and disingenuous to say the least. When ratepayers called the company they were put on hold for hours. They took the service out of customer service. The company failed to actually read the meters of many of their customers and then when they finally read it, after months of estimating, they socked it to the customer like it was no big deal. It WAS a big deal for many hundreds of families in your district.

    I hope you are going to take the hard line approach on this and demand that this so-called regulated utility start to repair the damage caused by their unfair billing practices. They should have to apologize profusely and admit their lack of diligence, hire new meter readers, upgrade their website so that customers can look/report on their accounts and input data when necessary and promise to never repeat this poor performance in the future. All these suggestions will go a long way to repair the damage going forward. They should also be encouraged and instructed to implement energy efficiency measures. This would also allow their customers to save money over time by becoming less energy dependent and wasteful, thus saving important natural resources for future generations.

    I appreciate your support in making Potomac Edison and the PSC accountable to their public and private ratepayers.

    Sincerely,

    John Christensen
    410-499-4873 cell
    304-754-8505 home

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