Public Service Commission
PSC Closes Case Against Licking Valley RECC - Utility takes steps to prevent future violations of outage reporting requirements
The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) today closed its enforcement action against Licking Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. for not reporting major power outages during a snow storm late last year.
After the PSC cited the utility in July, Licking Valley acknowledged its failure to report the outages in December 2009. The utility quickly submitted a revised emergency response plan that includes steps to make sure that all future outages are reported in a timely manner as required by PSC regulations.
In an order issued today, the PSC accepted a settlement agreement reached by PSC staff with Licking Valley. No fines were assessed against Licking Valley.
“The Commission has taken into consideration the comprehensive nature of the (settlement) and Licking Valley’s willingness to revise its emergency restoration procedures and cooperation to achieve a resolution of this proceeding,” the PSC said in the order. “The Commission notes that proper outage-reporting protocol should be an essential part of a utility’s comprehensive emergency and restoration plan.”
Licking Valley’s failure to report outages came one month after the PSC issued its “Ike and Ice” report on the massive power outages in September 2008 and January 2009.
In that report, the PSC emphasized that complete and timely information about the extent of outages is essential for effective disaster response. Outage information collected by the PSC is used in prioritizing relief efforts during major disasters.
In today’s order, the PSC cited the report’s finding that “confusion over outage reporting procedures can impede effective assessment of outages, hamper call center operations and increase customer frustration.”
“Licking Valley’s revised emergency restoration procedures, as filed on June 19, 2010, directly address these concerns,” the PSC said in today’s order.
Kentucky regulations require electric utilities to report any outage that lasts longer than four hours and affects more than 500 customers. The PSC must be notified within two hours of the outage reaching reportable levels.
The snow storm that struck eastern Kentucky on Dec. 18 and 19, 2009, led to the loss of power to about 107,000 customers. In today’s order, the PSC noted that it quickly began to receive outage reports from other utilities in the region, including those adjacent to Licking Valley’s service territory.
Licking Valley, which has about 17,500 customers in Breathitt, Elliott, Lee, Magoffin, Menifee, Morgan, Rowan and Wolfe counties, did not provide any information until contacted by PSC staff on Dec. 21. At that time, Licking Valley reported that at least 9,000 of its customers had lost power during the storm.
Today’s order and other documents in the case are available on the PSC website, psc.ky.gov. The case number is 2010-00226.
The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky and has approximately 100 employees.
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