Our opposition has always been based on our determination that the PATH project is not needed. Instead, the project was motivated by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) incentives, including recovery of all project costs and a 14.3% return on equity.
The claims of need for the project have shifted so far out into the future that it has put the project "on hold" for now. We call on PJM to be forthcoming and promptly release results of new analyses and forecasts for the PJM region. It is unacceptable that PJM's and PATH's unwillingness to accept the changing landscape for energy policy could continue to hold landowners in three states hostage while they continue to entertain an unneeded project endlessly.
While we celebrate this victory, we also realize that this battle is not over. PJM Interconnection will be conducting what it calls "more rigorous analysis of the potential need for PATH." AEP's CEO Michael Morris told the Energy Business Review, "We remain convinced that the project will be needed and plan to move forward with it when PJM completes its review." We are surprised that Mr. Morris would say this when it has been proven there is no need and the project has no terminus.
We also note that the suspension of this project in lieu of abandonment ensures the PATH companies will continue to spend ratepayer money to maintain the project. They will continue to hold real estate purchased and collect a 14.3% return on equity from electric ratepayers through their FERC Formula Rate for a project that has no projected in-service date and for which the companies are no longer seeking permits. We ask that the project be properly abandoned now, and if a need for PATH or a similar project materializes in the distant future, the companies reapply for FERC incentives at that time. Jeri Matheney, a spokeswoman for AEP said the utilities also would suspend efforts to purchase land for the right of way, however she failed to acknowledge that funds recovered from ratepayers have financed this project to date and will continue to do so under their current scheme of holding of the project in abeyance indefinitely.
The Formal Challenge to PATH's 2010 Formula Rate Annual Update detailing PATH's over recovery of more than $3M from ratepayers in thirteen states and the District of Columbia in 2009 remains open before FERC. Complainants Keryn Newman and Alison Haverty plan to continue pursuit of the refund due to ratepayers.
StopPATHWV, Inc. thanks our intervenors, volunteers, financial supporters and friends for their participation over the past 2 1/2 years. We urge everyone to remain vigilant as we continue our fight against corporate greed. We plan to continue, and expand, our efforts and welcome your involvement.
In addition, we will be continuing our efforts to ensure West Virginia's and the region's needs for reliable power are met through rebuilding of aging high voltage transmission infrastructure through our involvement with the Coalition for Reliable Power.
We've come too far and learned too much -- the fight is not over.