CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Appalachian Power will soon have a lot of work happening along the company’s power line right- of-way across southern West Virginia. This week the state Public Service Commission approved a comprehensive right-of-way maintenance and vegetation control plan.

“We have in the past used a system where we look at the circuits most in need of improvement and base our right-of-way maintenance on that,” said Appalachian Power Communications Director Jeri Matheney. “With this, every line will be looked at least every four years from the power plant to the customer.”

The plan is to keep rights-of-way clear is aimed at improving service, especially during times following storms like the Derecho and Superstorm Sandy.

“It will improve reliability,” said Matheney. “It won’t stop all outages, but it will allow us to restore service faster in many cases.”

The improved service however will come with a price. Matheney said the estimated cost of the plan is $58 million, which is $40 million more than the current budget.  However, the PSC did allow the company could bill that cost to customers.

“We’ll spread that out among our customers,” said Matheney. “No customers will see an increase on that for quite some time because we’re going to file a general rate case by June 30 and the commission has almost a year to look at those costs.”

The new program will go into effect immediately. Matheny said it will take six years to get to all of the rights-of-way covered the first time and after that they will work on a four-year rotation.


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  • griff

    nobama must be on the psc board now

  • Duh

    Here's a tip for everybody, don't plant trees under or near overhead lines, of any type, and when the power co. comes around to cut, or spray the right of way, let them cut the trees that need cut and spray what needs sprayed. If you do this, you are helping the situation, if you don't, you are part of the problem and should be charged extra for your electricity.

  • Ralph

    When I was a kid they did the right of way cleaning on a regular basis and I figure it was budgeted in with yearly cost of operation. Then at some point along came coperate greed and they started skimping on the clearing on a yearly basis as they used to and some one came up with the idea this was a good way to pay a bonus to coperate and they did away with the regular matenance. Now they want to keep their bonus and send us the bill for something they should be doing with out charging consumers extra. Thanks for rolling over P.S.C.

  • james

    Who is the PSC looking out for, the consumersor Wallstreet?

    The below market report on AEP answers this question:

    Financial Performance
    The company has delivered a healthy financial performance in recent years. Recently, the company reported healthy 4Q2013 financial results, registered operating earnings per share of $0.60, up 20% as compared to the corresponding period last year, beating consensus estimates of $0.56. Also, the company was able to increase its quarterly revenues to $3.8 billion in 4Q2013, up from $3.6 billion in 4Q2012. The company was also able to grow its full year 2013 operating EPS to $3.04, up from $2.60 in 2012. AEP registered total annual revenues of $15.4 billion for 2013, representing an increase of 3.4% as compared to the corresponding period last year. Moreover, the company reaffirmed its earnings guidance for 2014 of $3.2-$3.4 per share.

    AEP has been posting healthy performance in recent years and offering shareholder-healthy returns. In the last five years, the company has outperformed the utility industry, and the trend is expected to continue in the future. The following table shows total shareholder return for AEP in comparison to the S&P 500 Utilities Index.

    • wenkev10

      You really have to ask that question and the answer seems to shock you and many other people. Isn't making a profit (the larger the better) the whole reason for creating a company of any kind- large or small? There are many people who have invested, handed over their money, to AEP in the hopes they will get more money- right? I thought this was the reason Wall Street Exists. It never ceases to amaze me that people feel they have the right to tell others how much money they should make or have in their possession. And for the record- I am not a customer, employee or stock holder of AEP. I just get tired of people trashing companies for doing what their investors give them money to do- make more money!! Just like another poster said earlier, get off the grid if you don't like the rates. Electricity is a SERVICE not a RIGHT!!

      • James

        If you had followed the investers don't give their money to AEP. All capital improvements have been funded with rate increases. They are not selling stock to rasie capital. Here it is stock options to executives and market players. This is not a true free market enterprise. It is a regualted public utility granted a monopoly by the state. Thus, you have rate regulation. Traditionally in a state granted public utility monopoly the company gets moderate yet pretty much guaranteed steady return. The WV PSC is granting top of the market returns. You can pretty much bet on the line clearing being done by an AEP subsidairy at a rate that going to be well above market rate for he work. This is pretty much the way the PSC allows WV Amer water to deal with subsidariy entites for supplies that well above market prices. If you want to argue free market freedom to make a profit, then put them in an uregulated free market.

  • Wenkev10

    Say your average power bill is $300 a month or let's say it is $600 a month. That is $10 or $20 per day that you have to spend for electricity that is available at the flick of a switch over 99% of the time. That $10-$20 per day powers your heat (if you don't have gas, still runs your blower), your refrigerator 24-7, your tv, your water heater (if you don't have gas), stove (if no gas), computer, DVD player, lights so you can see, air conditioning, etc. I only wish I could plunk down $20 a day on gas and run all day anywhere I want to go or $20 a day and feed my family all 3 meals. It doesn't seem to bother people to pay quite a bit more per day for their cigarettes, beer, coffee, lotto tickets, and the like.

    • Sick&Tired

      I just hope your Corp. will spread the wealth with you and No and not just the CEO's.

  • jfk

    the power company owns the rights to the power lines right? well I own the rights to my house and property but I don't and CAN'T pass the bill to the bank for repairs or maintenance to my property or home. I am of course using the bank as an example of us who pay the power bill.

    • No

      Apples and oranges, you can always go off grid, solar is getting more affordable.

      • jfk

        ,,,and you can get out of bed with the psc or one or all of the utility company's.

  • OldSkool

    It costs money to keep the lights burning. Most folks don't realize what it takes to provide electricity. People just expect the lights to come on when they turn on the switch. There is a lot more involved behind the scenes than what one would think.

    Chris's arcticle did not mention that the Public Service Commission asked the utilities for a comprehensive plan to better maintain their rights of way.

  • The Answer

    The power company can get away with charging it's customers with everything.
    But if I charged my customers higher rates every time I had to replace a tire or the price of gasoline goes up I wouldn't be in business very long.
    But they can get by with it because they have no competition.
    Plus the PSC acts like their scared to death to tell them no..

    • No

      So, if you're in business and the cost of all your materials, labor, equipment, etc. keep going up, you are going to continue to charge the same prices forever? I'm afraid that is not a good business model.

  • griff

    I wonder when & how much our electric bills will go up to pay back that 58 million?

    • jfk

      oh we will pay with interest while the ceo's and their buddy's keep getting richer. Corporate greed should not be in our utility company's BUT wait thats why we have the psc,,,right?

  • bulldog95

    How about they let some good ole boys sign some waivers and cut down all those pesky trees. Then lets said good ole boys do what they want with said downed trees. Most would keep or sale the trees for firewood. Just have one person at each cut site on payroll to supervise the cutting and watch that 58 million price tag shrink.

    I smell a million dollar bonus to high ranking folks with AEP, good job for sticking it to the public yet again.