Here on The Power Line, I only like to deal in documentable facts. Occasionally, I come across rumors that are so outrageous, I have to comment on them.
In recent weeks, a rumor has circulated in Charleston that Gov. Tomblin is considering appointing a second lawyer from the Jackson Kelly law firm to replace Ryan Palmer on the WV PSC.
As I have noted many times in the past, current PSC Chairman Mike Albert worked for over thirty years at Jackson Kelly representing the largest out of state corporations that control WV’s water and electricity monopolies. Chairman Albert has just recused himself from the WV American Water General Investigation because he personally represented the water company for decades at Jackson Kelly. His recusal, along with Mr. Palmer’s departure, has paralyzed the investigation, because WV law requires to commissioners to act in any case.
Shortly after then Gov. Manchin appointed him in 2007, Chairman Albert had to step down from the TrAIL transmission line case, because he had actually written MD-based Allegheny Energy’s application to the PSC. Allegheny Enery was bought out by Akron-based Holding company FirstEnergy in 2012. FirstEnergy is to this day represented by Jackson Kelly in PSC cases.
If the rumor about Gov. Tomblin’s plan for the PSC is true, a majority on the Commission is about to be handed over to people from the corporate law firm a long history of representing the interests of out of state holding companies against WV utility customers.
If the rumor proves true, it will be an egregious act by the Governor against our state and our people.