At the time, American Electric Power's Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power had not yet formally signed onto the deal. Thursday's filing indicates Appalachian and Wheeling eventually signed on, as did several much smaller electrical utilities.
Since January, utilities, PSC staff and other parties have been debating in commission filings proposals for power companies to comply with new agency rules aimed at setting electrical system reliability targets.
The targets are based on three indices that grade how frequently electrical systems go down, how long those systems are down, and how long customers themselves go without power.
West Virginia was one of only 12 states listed in a 2005 Edison Electric Institute study as having no targets for utility reliability as well as no requirement for power companies to report reliability data to the PSC. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy found power outages in West Virginia take nearly four times longer to fix than the national average.
The lack of reliability standards came to light in 2010, when the commission investigated widespread blackouts across West Virginia following a winter storm in mid-December 2009. After that, the PSC in July 2011 rewrote its statewide rules to require new reliability targets.
The issue arose again this summer, after a series of late-June thunderstorms left thousands of state residents without power, some for a week or more.
Setting electrical system reliability targets involves complicated formulas that include averaging power outage frequency and duration, and accounting for acceptable deviations from those averages.
Under the new standards, for example, Appalachian Power's target is to have no more than 2.5 power outages per customer per year. And the average duration of all outages for all customers is supposed to meet a minimum target of no more than 230 minutes long.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.