I haven't seen or heard the commercials, but those who have report that it has something to do with the grid being on the verge of failure.
Absolutely not true, but if it were, why would that be? Because companies like Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power don't want to "waste" money on things like maintaining and modernizing what they already have. There's no profit in that for them. Instead, they want to build a brand new transmission line and rake in 14.3%. This would be like buying a new car every time you needed an oil change. Is that the financially smart thing to do? Only if someone else is paying for the new car, and that's precisely what's happening here. The ratepayers in the 13-state PJM region are paying the cost of constructing PATH and the power companies bank a sweet amount of profit.
So, what happens to all those "old, decrepit, failing" transmission lines? Unfortunately, those "old, decrepit, failing" transmission lines are what keep the power on in West Virginia, but we don't matter. Classic, isn't it? West Virginia is expected to bend over again and again and "sacrifice" for the good of the bastions of urban sagacity on the east coast. Others are driving the shiny, new car we pay for, and we're left to make due with a beat-up, old, pick'em up truck that runs on two cylinders.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way. Dominion Virginia Power has proposed an alternative to PATH that will modernize existing transmission lines.