CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On Wednesday, the West Virginia Public Service Commission held a conference call with the major utility companies and various cable and telecommunication companies operating in West Virginia to determine the status of their operations and share best practices in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.
Participants in the conference call included Chairman Charlotte Lane, Commissioners Brooks McCabe and Renee Larrick and representatives of AEP (APCo and WPCo), First Energy (Mon Power and Potomac Edison), Mountaineer Gas, Hope Gas, West Virginia American Water, AT&T, Frontier West Virginia, Suddenlink and other cable providers.
The utility companies were asked what they were doing to continue providing services and protect their workforces during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission also wanted to know what plans were in place to ensure utility services should there be significant weather events or natural disasters that may happen during the pandemic.
Utility companies reported they had agreed not to disconnect customers, pursuant to the Commission’s March 17, 2020 General Order 262. Companies reported that they have also taken numerous measures, including social distancing; increased use of tele-meetings; working from home; increased cleaning and disinfecting at work sites; and using retirees, contractors and additional suppliers, PSC officials said. Some telecommunications companies are opening enhanced and free wifi for students to help them study from home. Telecommunications providers are also following Federal Communications Commission guidelines regarding disconnections.
As of Monday, no utility employees had tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.