I’m sitting here in my office pondering a conundrum. Back in 2013, the WV PSC granted Ohio-based power company holding companies AEP and FirstEnergy the right to add significant new charges to WV electric bills to cover the costs of a new right-of-way maintenance program that would reduce the regular blackouts that hit West Virginians.
The PSC just granted FirstEnergy’s Mon Power and Potomac Edison a new base rate increase which includes the cost of this program that was supposed to increase system reliability in WV. Mon Power and Potomac Edison rate payers are now paying a surcharge that will bring in $50 million a year to the power companies for supposedly enhanced right-of-way maintenance.
Yesterday morning, with Mon Power’s electricity still coming in through my meter, I thought that maybe WV rate payers might actually be getting their money’s worth. FirstEnergy has made a big right-of-way clearing push in Calhoun County in the last two years. They have even illegally sprayed my neighbors with herbicides.
Well, I was wrong. Yesterday (Friday), just after noon, Mon Power’s power went down. We have 15 solar panels, 8 six-volt batteries and lots of sunshine today, so we have plenty of power.
Back in 2013, the PSC and the power companies told us everything would be fine if West Virginians just forked over more money. Guess what? This recent storm has knocked out power to over 100,000 customers. How have things changed?
If you want to see a history of my posts on this subject, click here.