West Virginia PSC, public service districts discuss consolidation

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - In the opinion of head of West Virginia’s Public Service Commission, when it comes to both efficiency and clout, bigger is better for local public service districts.

“The larger the PSD is,” Chair Charlotte Lane said Monday, “then the better it is able to get money for maintenance, operations, and extensions that need to be done.”

Lane addressed a meeting organized by the Wood County Commission, attended by PSD administrators, board members and customers. Mayors and members of water and sewer boards in Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown also were on hand.

“In serving our customers, what’s in our best interests, since we have the lowest rates,” said Steve Nulter of the Union Williams Public Service District.

But people from the larger districts, which include Wood County’s three cities, like the idea of consolidating, or at least sharing operations.

“Each district should be connected to the other district,” said Jerry Martin, Board member, Lubeck PSD. “This is money that could be well-spent, for the benefit of the county and the people.”

Said Paul Hoblitzell, Board member of the Parkersburg Utility Board: “Our ability to track money for our customers would be far better.”

A task force, made up of people from each PSD, will determine the best way to go forward with consolidation.

“If you have five districts, and you have five different approaches,” said County Commissioner Jimmy Colombo, “if these five people get together and see how they run their systems, maybe they can improve themselves, too.”

The county commission could decide as soon as Thursday to appoint members to the task force.

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