|10/00: In light of the low cost of electricity in West Virginia and the price spikes experienced this past summer in other States that have restructured retail markets, lawmakers seem to need to be convinced that restructuring will benefit West Virginia consumers. Before the provisions of the restructuring law can take effect, a resolution must be passed by the legislature in 2001. Most concerns center on protecting small (residential) consumers from price increases.
09/00: The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) has begun hearing testimony from electric utilities regarding their plans for unbundling electric rates. Monongahela Power Company and The Potomac Edison Company, both owned by parent company Allegheny Power, were the first to participate in the hearings. Hearings for the remaining West Virginia utilities are scheduled throughout the months of October and November.
03/00: The Legislature approved the Electricity Restructuring Plan submitted by the PSC. The plan will allow retail choice by January 2001, unbundles and caps rates until 2004, and provides commercial and industrial rate reductions through 2005. The legislation requires passage of a resolution in the 2001 session before the provisions of the law can go into effect.
1/00: The West Virginia Pubic Service Commission (PSC) issued an order recommending a plan for restructuring on January 28, 2000. The PSC submitted this plan, the culmination of three years of study, to the legislature for approval. The plan will implement consumer choice by January 2001, provides a rate freeze through 2004, and will stabilize rates through 2014. In the plan, divestiture is not required, but utilities must transfer generation to a fully separate subsidiary by 2005.
9/99: The Consumer Advocate Division of the PSC argues that consumers in West Virginia have already paid the stranded costs associated with power plant construction. They are also pushing for a rate cap in the deregulation plan to be developed for submittal to the legislature early next year. All parties are planning to begin negotiation of the plan by November 1999.
1/99: The PSC scheduled 2 hearings in August of 1999 that will address electric restructuring issues such as stranded costs and consumer protections.
10/98: The PSC pushed back the October 1998 deadline for its final report on restructuring to November 16, 1998.
9/98: The PSC suspended an October 1998 hearing on deregulation, delaying any plan to submit recommendations to the 1999 legislature. No hurry is seen to enact deregulation since West Virginia rates are low.
5/98: In compliance with HB 4277, a new restructuring docket was established. Proponents of deregulation are requested to file plans meeting criteria in HB 4277. A series of restructuring workshops will be held this summer and fall. Proposed plans have been submitted by 11 parties including AEP.
5/97: The PSC formed a task force to study restructuring, and a report is due October 1997.