West Virginia American Must Continue Public Water Projects, PSC
7 April 2014
By Rusty Marks
Officials for the state Public Service Commission on Monday
ordered West Virginia American Water to continue public water
projects, after the utility had said it wasn’t legally required to
participate in the projects.
Water company officials slashed funding for public-private water
partnerships all over the state in 2011, not long after the PSC
turned town $10 million of a requested $15 million rate increase.
Among the funding canceled by the water company was the company's
commitment to a $1.1 million water extension in the
Leatherwood and Reamer Hills areas of Kanawha County. The project
would have brought water to about 145 families, some of whom had
been trying to get public water for 40 years.
Officials at the Public Service Commission believe the water
company's decision to drop water partnerships that were under
consideration kept about 1,500 families around the state from
getting public water.
Water company spokeswoman Laura Jordan said water company
officials were reviewing the order.
Kanawha County officials and officials for seven other entities
around the state filed a complaint with the PSC in October 2011,
alleging the water company had improperly withdrawn support of the
water projects. Many officials at the time accused the water
company of slashing funding to get back at the state for turning
down the rate increase.
Water company officials said they cut the partnerships because
they could no longer afford to help communities extend water
But in an order issued Monday, the PSC ruled that West Virginia
American Water has an obligation to take part in “technically and
economically feasible” water projects, according to the ruling.
PSC officials ordered that West Virginia American must continue
support of “projects [that] would serve new customers who are
located within areas that could reasonably be served by WVAWC.”
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper, who was livid
when water company officials cut out the partnerships in 2011, was
happy to learn of the PSC’s order.
“I’m grateful to the Public Service Commission,” he said. “What a
novel concept. The water company has to stay in the water
Reach Rusty Marks at email@example.com or 304-348-1215.