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PSC orders WVAW to continue public water access

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The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has ordered West Virginia American Water to continue providing access to public water to areas that do not currently have it.  

WVAW will need to work with certain public entities to provide the drinking water to residents who are currently without it.

The projects would extend existing facilities and bring water to new customers.

In October 2011, the Regional Development Authority of Charleston-Kanawha County, Lewis County Economic Development Authority (EDA), Oakvale Road PSD, Lashmeet PSD, New Haven PSD, Putnam County Building Commission, Jumping Branch-Nimitz PSD, and Webster County EDA (jointly the Complainants) filed a complaint asserting that WVAW improperly withdrew from a series of partnerships to expand water service in various West Virginia areas.  

The complaint was filed after each of the organizations received a "decommitment" letter from WVAW saying it would no longer financially support public/private investments, may not provide operation and maintenance services for future extensions, but may serve new projects through a master meter using WVAW's wholesale tariff rates or operate and maintain such projects subject to a detailed project cost evaluation.  The Complainants characterized the actions of WVAW as an unreasonable practice adopted because of adverse rulings by the Commission in a contested rate proceeding.  The Complainants also contended that they gave up their ability to operate their own infrastructures as well as opportunities to obtain certain federal funding because they believed that WVAW would continue to participate in future extension projects.

In the Order, the Commission stated that WVAW has an obligation to continue to participate in technically and economically feasible extension projects proposed by the Complainants. The projects would serve new customers who are located within areas that could reasonably be served by WVAW. 

The order also stipulates that WVAW must continue to file quarterly reports with the Commission, providing statistical information about the amount of non-revenue water and unaccounted for water, miles of lines surveyed, average response time, number of boil water advisories, number of leaks repaired and number of meters tested for each size of meter. These quarterly reports will be required through 2015. 

WVAW will also be required to share this statistical information with the Complainants.

More information can be found at www.psc.state.wv.us.