This page from a Morgan Stanley presentation about the "inve$tment opportunitie$" to be had in the hugely profitable high voltage transmission line business indicates that one of PATH's "key challenges" was:
"Obtaining a CPCN in West Virginia or costly concessions with WV to receive the CPCN"
In other words, if they couldn't prove their transmission line was needed and obtain the necessary permit the honest way, they planned to buy it by offering economic inducements and "donations" to West Virginia by engineering another deal with the Governor whereby he would put pressure on state officials to approve an unneeded transmission project in exchange for financial "concessions" by PATH's corporate parents.
That's the lesson Allegheny Energy was taught during the CPCN process for their unneeded TrAILCo transmission line. When the WV PSC was on the verge of denying Allegheny Energy's application for that project, Governor Joe Manchin stepped in at the urging of his good buddy, Allegheny Energy CEO, Paul Evanson. What resulted was a backroom deal whereby Allegheny Energy, by virtue of its status as an incumbent utility in the state, was able to offer pay offs, such as having their West Virginia affiliates' absorb their customers' share of TrAILCo costs for approximately seven years, while other West Virginia electric customers of other utilities, such as AEP, paid for the line, along with electric ratepayers in 12 other states and the District of Columbia.
Watch this video of WV Consumer Advocate Byron Harris explaining how a "balance" was struck whereby the unneeded TrAIL project was granted a CPCN in exchange for "economic incentives." Don't miss Byron's "deer in the headlights" look and stuttering when asked what part the Governor's Office played in this sale of West Virginia. Perhaps Byron knows that what Governor Manchin did was illegal. This video never gets old!
Another pay off in exchange for the CPCN was construction and staffing of a new Allegheny Energy Transmission Headquarters in Fairmont. If you have any doubt that Joe Manchin sold West Virginians to Pennsylvania corporation Allegheny Energy, this article and accompanying photo will put it to rest. Although most of the article is now behind a paywall, I happen to have the money quotes (remember when the news used to be free?):
"The transmission headquarters was part of Allegheny Energy’s settlement with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, one of a number of concessions the utility provided in return for PSC staff dropping its contention that the need for the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line had not been demonstrated."
“I got a call one day from Gov. Joe Manchin. He suggested that maybe we locate the building in West Virginia,” said Allegheny CEO Paul Evanson at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the transmission center.
Evanson said Manchin was very persuasive as he laid out the pros of locating such a facility in the state. After carefully considering the matter, Evanson said he told Manchin that the company would locate the new facility in North Central West Virginia.
A short time later, Evanson got “another call” from Manchin. The governor suggested Fairmont as the best location.
Evanson said there were several locations, including Morgantown, under consideration, but the company hadn’t made a decision. About a week later, Manchin called him again and asked if there had been any decision about Fairmont.
Evanson said he soon realized that Fairmont’s proximity to major power lines crisscrossing North Central West Virginia made it the best choice for the transmission center.
“Three phone calls and here we are,” Evanson said.
When Manchin stepped to the podium, he joked “that it really took four phone calls, not three.”
Four phone calls. That's all it took to make the sale of TrAILCo's CPCN from the WV PSC. The purchase of PATH's CPCN probably would have taken less, if not for the efforts of the citizens of West Virginia.
However, instead of this:
"A crowd of dignitaries laughed as they listened to Manchin’s remarks while assembled on the front porch of Allegheny Energy’s $52 million transmission facility."
the citizens of West Virginia had the last laugh this time.