CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Public Service Commission issued an order Friday telling the Gauley River Public Service District and West Virginia American Water Company to come up with a better operating agreement.

The PSC determined last year the Gauley River PSD was a distressed or failing utility and in an order issued last August told it and West Virginia American to submit a standard operation and maintenance agreement. The PSC received the proposal in November but said in Friday’s order it doesn’t go far enough.

“The Agreement did not contain standard terms of an operations and maintenance agreement as required by the Commission, but instead contained terms outlining a vague consulting agreement between Gauley River and WVAWC for a term of 36 months,” the PSC said.

MORE read order here

The agreement proposed by West Virginia American and Gauley Bridge PSD leaves the system too much in the hands of the local PSD, the commission said in Friday’s rejection order.

“Rather than WVAWC operating and managing Gauley River’s water service, the proposed Agreement merely calls for WVAWC to make recommendations that Gauley River may accept or reject,” the PSC said. “The proposed Agreement leaves Gauley River entirely in control and responsible for the ongoing operations and maintenance of the water system.”

The PSC is giving the two parties until next Friday, March 22, to come up with a new agreement that more closely follows the commission’s August 2023 order.

The Gauley Bridge PSD provides service to the state prison at Mount Olive.