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Voice of the People

Jul. 26, 2013 @ 12:32 AM

PSD application appears to be ‘corporate welfare’

In a 2011 case filing, the West Virginia Public Service Commission set a Cabell County hearing. Prior to the 2012 general election, Pea Ridge Public Service District withdrew the application, placing the case on hold. Having avoided pre-election public scrutiny, Cabell County commissioners and the PSD corrected first application deficiencies and re-applied in Case NO 13-0905-PSD-CN on June 21. With behind-the-scenes urging by commissioners, their primary goal remains: serve HADCO Industrial Park.

In order to justify this corporate welfare, it is imperative they “claim” to be serving a public need in 100 or so residential customers at Green Bottom. Neither the PSC nor Health Department officials have shown a “need” for a public sewer. Green Bottom residents are conducting a “citizen polling” indicating how they would best be served, and submitting information directly to the PSC.

Our PSD absorbed adjacent service areas many times in 50 years past, with little complaint. In six of those expansions, we still carry $11 million in bond debt. The far removed, highly speculative HADCO industrial sewer would add $10 million to our debt load.

New Green Bottom residential bills would average a little over $37 monthly, or a minimum bill of $22. They individually face unestimated costs to construct or extend service lines and safely render septic tanks out of service. At the same time, over 4,600 existing Pea Ridge customers would see monthly bills increased by 9 percent and pay over 90 percent of project costs.
Howard Pullin



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