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Under the PSC, West Virginia’s electric power reliability struggle persists

By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginians are trapped in a power struggle.

Enduring some of the least affordable electricity in the country in recent years didn’t stop long-running electric utility reliability issues throughout the state in 2023, according to recent filings the utilities submitted to the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

But most of the state’s most prominent utilities are asking for electric reliability targets less or as stringent as they have been rather than more so, suggesting the state’s status quo of disproportionately unreliable, unaffordable and coal-fired electricity isn’t likely to change in the near future.

It’ll be up to the PSC to approve the utilities’ next electric reliability targets after the PSC recently objected to a federal order widely touted as a long-term reliability boon. It was viewed by the commission as overreach that could make coal-dependent West Virginia pay for unwanted renewable energy-based transmission upgrades in other states.

Meanwhile, the utilities face a wide range of reliability challenges, from terrain and vegetation density to aging infrastructure and an increase in storm activities tied to climate change driving other states in the very renewables-based direction West Virginia has anachronistically resisted.

Wide range of targets missed

Appalachian Power, Wheeling Power, Mon Power and Potomac Edison filed with the PSC in late April and early May annual electric reliability reports and proposals for new targets.

Read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/energy_and_environment/under-the-psc-west-virginias-electric-power-reliability-struggle-persists/article_f263d0da-d964-5d6b-b85f-358072336b29.html

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