In their order, commissioners said their goal is not to blame companies, but to figure out what can be done to "lessen the impact of future outages."
After a December 2009 storm left more than 334,000 West Virginians without power, the PSC launched an investigation and found that utilities didn't do enough to prevent and respond to widespread power outages.
When the PSC found that utilities didn't properly clear trees from rights of way before the Dec. 18-19 storm, it directed Appalachian Power and Allegheny Power to take significant steps to improve preparations and responses to future outages.
When the investigation concluded in December 2010, The Charleston Gazette reported that the PSC required Appalachian Power to appoint "switching coordinators" who would oversee communications between dispatch centers and power company employees working in the field to restore electricity. Appalachian Power also had to fix deficient equipment and computer software, according to the order.
The power company also was directed to develop plans for notifying customers about billing irregularities after major outages.
Appalachian Power said after the investigation that it had hired a consultant to evaluate the utility's storm performance and preparedness plans.
Also, the PSC has scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 18 to discuss what could be the state's first-ever targets for how utilities should handle and quickly fix power outages. In filings in the case, PSC staff members and the commission's Consumer Advocate Division said the plans proposed by the industry wouldn't have much effect.
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.