(02/14/2007)
"It's unacceptable what's going on, we're talking about a public safety issue right now," said a West Virginia Public Service Commission spokesperson regarding residents of Clay County going without heat.

Sara Robertson says the PSC will try and find the source of the problem as part of an emergency hearing with representatives from three gas companies tomorrow in Charleston.

Companies that will be attending the meeting: Wagner Gas Company, Beechy Gas Company and Valley Gas Company.

"We've had tons of phone calls, letters, there have been several, several complaint cases filed against these three gas companies," said Robertson.

"It became the time for us to step in and try to figure out what's going on and figure out a way to solve it," she said.

"The companies, actually, have to show cause. That kind of means that they have the burden of proof to show to the Commission why the Commission should not go to Clay County Circuit Court and try to place them in receivership."

The PSC could opt to file an emergency petition in Clay County Circuit Court, one that would allow someone else to take over and operate the companies.

"We're hoping the Clay County Circuit Court will also act quickly, just simply because of the gravity of the situation down there," said Robertson.

Clay officials are skeptical of action by the PSC, with the problem being on the burner for several years.

Thursday's hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. at the PSC Office in Charleston.


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