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PSC gas outage inquiry finds WVAW lacking in formal policies, customized records

By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia American Water has reported lacking formal written policies and customized records containing information requested by state utility regulators in their investigation of the utility’s practices following an extended gas outage that hit Charleston’s West Side in November 2023.

The state’s largest investor-owned water utility said it doesn’t have formal written policies describing the implementation of its leak response program.

The water company said it has no customer interaction records that exist in a manner that would allow it to limit query results to the West Side.

The company’s responses followed requests from state Public Service Commission staff for a summary of:

  • Customer service call logs
  • Call center logs
  • Complaint logs or other documentation of customer service issues
  • Leaks and breaks on Charleston’s West Side between Nov. 6-Dec. 31
  • Company policies related to leak responses, including procedures related to times from notice of a leak to arrival at a leak site
  • Company policies related to main line valve location and valve exercising, including procedures for locating and marking valves and procedures for addressing hidden, buried, paved-over or otherwise inaccessible main line valves

The PSC on Wednesday gave its staff three additional months — until July 24 — to come up with a West Virginia American Water-focused recommendation stemming from the staff’s investigation of utility services responding to the gas outage that left more than 1,000 West Side customers without heat in November. 

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