Now I see why it took so long. It had to be created. And I mean that in the most complete, literal sense.
What has PATH been doing with your money? And lest they attempt to tell you it's not your money, here's the truth: These particular expenses revealed in the PSC case are booked as an income deduction. PATH's only income comes from you, courtesy of the return they earn on capital expenditures in the ratebase. PATH deducts these "donation" & "civic and political activity" expenses from their income to come up with a lower total income figure for tax purposes. So, where does the actual cash they pay for these items come from? Right out of your pocket because you're paying them that return every month in your electric bill.
So, what turned up in discovery?
For account 426.1 Donations. This account shall include all payments or donations for charitable, social or community welfare purposes.
For account 426.4 Expenditures for certain civic, political and related activities. This account shall include expenditures for the purpose of influencing public opinion with respect to the election or appointment of public officials, referenda, legislation, or ordinances (either with respect to the possible adoption of new referenda, legislation or ordinances or repeal or modification of existing referenda, legislation or ordinances) or approval, modification, or revocation of franchises; or for the purpose of influencing the decisions of public officials, but shall not include such expenditures which are directly related to appearances before regulatory or other governmental bodies in connection with the reporting utility's existing or proposed operations.
I'm not going to comment on any of the individual entries here. I don't have that much time on my hands. If anything makes you curious, do a google search on the vendor. I'll just make the observation that it doesn't add up. So, was PATH cheating in their FERC filings, or are they cheating here?
Although I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt for much longer than I should have, it's now become quite obvious that this financial codswallop is being done on purpose in order to bolster the bottom line. This would be cheating, in my book. It's a stunning display of "error" after "error" after "error". Can the accounting staff of a regulated corporation really be this inept? No. When something doesn't make sense, it's usually not true. And Allegheny could not be that stupid and still manage to operate. Yes, I said Allegheny. It seems that's where most of the codswallop takes place. I'm not absolving AEP here though. They certainly had their finger in the pie too, although not as deep. And when the manure hits the fan at game end, they're both going to be covered in it.
Yesterday, PATH filed another correction to their 2010 Formula Rate Annual Update. Read the letter carefully and pretend you're FERC and this is the second correction you've received because of "errors" in PATH's accounting. Are any alarm bells going off? Although he tries to pretend that the "errors" were discovered by PATH, they were really discovered by Ali Haverty and myself and PATH was tipped off to them either through our discovery requests or our Preliminary Challenge. Unfortunately for them, they still didn't fix them all! This is a mere drop in the bucket. It's so not over yet. PATH has rather begrudgingly provided us with more than enough to hang them as we continue to move forward on the challenge to their Formula Rate filing.
We all learned in kindergarten that George Washington supposedly said "I cannot tell a lie" when his father asked if he chopped down the cherry tree. It's no coincidence that George's likeness appears on the dollar bill because, just like George himself, a dollar won't lie to you. Follow the money and it will always lead you right straight to the truth. That was always my favorite part of accounting. It's black and white -- there are no shades of gray for crooked companies to hide behind. And I get it, PATH. I completely get it now.