Public Service Commission to continue with investigation of WV American WAter

The Public Service Commission finally issued an order on Monday announcing that it is going to continue with the investigation of WV American Water's response to the 2014 chemical spill. In December, the PSC had expressed concern with the potential overlap between its investigation and the sourcewater planning efforts that the water company is required to do by Senate Bill 373, leading to speculation that the PSC was looking for an excuse to drop the investigation entirely.

WV American Water strongly argued in favor of dropping the investigation. We and other parties in the case argued otherwise. And we won! In Monday's order the PSC (or, more accurately, the 2 commissioners hearing this case since Chairman Albert recused himself) said, "We ... are persuaded that the Commission is not precluded from proceeding at this time"

Yet there are also parts of Monday's order that are less than ideal:

1. The PSC appears to be dealing with the potential conflict with SB 373 by delaying the schedule. It set the case for hearing in November - well after the water company will have filed its sourcewater protection plan with the Bureau for Public Health this summer. And the PSC probably won't rule on the case until after the Bureau has determined whether the sourcewater protection plan is adequate -- meaning that any lessons from the investigation won't be available to Bureau in making that judgement.

2. The PSC declined our request for additional discovery in this case, meaning that the PSC does not plan to look at any new information that has come to light after November 2014.