Utilities ordered to come up with trimming programs to avoid outages
The West Virginia Public Service Commission has given all electric utility companies operating in the state six months to propose comprehensive vegetation trimming programs to maintain all power rights-of-way.
The order is the result of an investigation into utility responses and practices following last June’s derecho summer storm that left thousands of West Virginia utility customers without power for extended periods.
The companies’ proposals must cover all distribution and transmission lines on an “end-to-end, time-based cycle,” based on the utility’s specific operational and reliability targets.
The proposals must indicate how the program will be coordinated with other entities that have facilities in the rights-of-way or attached to the utility poles and may also have an obligation to maintain the same rights-of way.
The Commission also required that the companies submit a proposed method for rate recovery of the increased costs associated with the programs.
The utility companies’ future filings would be subject to public notice, comment and review by the State Public Service Commission.