Utilities should be held to personal notifications

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Two subsidiaries of American Electric Power that operate in West Virginia are asking the state’s regulators to relieve utilities from having to notify customers in person that their gas or power will be shut off because of unpaid bills.

Their stated concern – certainly one that has some merit – is that sometimes their employees are threatened with bodily harm when they go to a customer’s door to deliver the disconnection notification personally. But in making their case, the utilities are giving too little weight to the potential harm that could result for customers who have to rely on electricity or gas for their well-being.

The issue has come up as a result of complaints primarily from Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power. The state’s Public Service Commission has agreed to look into the state’s policies regarding termination of utility service…

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