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PSC staff seeks two-week extension for first meeting of statewide cable/utility service outage task force

MORGANTOWN — Public Service Commission staff have asked the PSC for a two-week extension for the first meeting of the newly formed task force for utilities and cable service providers to recommend best practices and universal procedures for notifications regarding utility and cable service outages.

The PSC created the task force in a May 22 order and set the first meeting date for no later than June 14. PSC staff is asking to move that deadline to June 30.

The creation of the task force followed the PSC’s April 8 opening of a general investigation into such notifications by 14 regulated utilities. The PSC ordered them to identify how they notify their individual customers when they are affected by service outages.

The companies named were Hope Gas, Cardinal Natural Gas, Mon Power and Potomac Edison, Morgantown Utility Board, Mountaineer Gas, Consumers Gas Utility, Union Oil & Gas, West Virginia-American Water, Beckley Water Co., Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power, Frontier West Virginia and Optimum.

They were instructed to explain how they notify their individual affected customers of service outages; what plans they have, if any, to add, expand, modify, or improve notification systems; describe any technical or physical barriers that exist to providing electronic notifications by email or text message; and describe procedures in place to notify mass communication media of outages.

Staff said the reason is to better coordinate attendance and participation at the initial meeting and to allow for adequate time to prepare and finalize the task force report to the PSC.

“The granting of these brief extensions will not adversely prejudice the rights or interests of any of the task force participants and will serve to promote administrative efficiency in both the conduct of the task force’s discussions as well as the development of recommendations for best practices and universal procedures as requested by the commission,” staff said.

Under the original timeline, the task force’s report would have been due by July 21. Staff told the PSC that granting the request would push the report date to July 31.

The request now awaits a response and order from the PSC.


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