West Virginia PSC Ignores Staff Recommendations, Denies Review of Rockwool Waterline

Jefferson County Vision complaint with the Public Service Commission (PSC) is refused, putting ratepayers at risk.

CHARLES TOWN, WV.  The Public Service Commission (PSC) overruled their own staff recommendation today and declined to intervene or reconsider the Rockwool/Jefferson Utilities water line project.

Rockwool announced in January that it would build the waterline directly with Jefferson Utilities, abandoning the agreement for state taxpayer financing and Jefferson County Development Authority (JCDA) ownership of the waterline.

Thus the financing of the waterline project, ownership of the line, and costs have all changed, yet Jefferson Utilities did not file a petition to reopen the project approval as directed by the original Commission Order.  

Jefferson County Vision (JCV) filed a formal complaint with the Public Service Commission in Charleston, calling for an immediate cease and desist against the unauthorized work underway by Jefferson Utilities on the Rockwool waterline.  PSC professional staff noted in their initial review, “These changes are so significant that JUI should have sought the Commission's approval of the changes before proceeding with the project.

And as the PSC noted in today’s denial, “Staff expressed concern that the significant increase in cost and the new funding source for the Project could cause JUI rates to increase. Staff recommended that the Commission reopen this case…”

Unfortunately the appointed officials at the PSC announced they intend to rely on the assertion made by a CPA, funded by Jefferson Utilities, that the wholesale change in financing and ownership will not impact ratepayers.

Rockwool's original plan was to shove their infrastructure financing costs on to the backs of West Virginia taxpayers and ratepayers, and they are grabbing millions more directly from the state treasury.  Yet the PSC is going to decline to investigate the potential ratepayer risk in the waterline project.