Both PATH companies have now filed their Form No. 1 for 2011, which gives us a preview of things to come and allows us to make comparisons and pick up a few other tidbits of useful information. Ready? Here we go!
On the capital side, PATH-WV has $58.8M invested in CWIP and land held for future use, and PATH-Allegheny has $43.5M in CWIP and $19.8M in plant in service (which is where they hide their land). This amount represents the companies' investment in PATH that earns a 12.4% return every year, and what they'll try to recover once the project is abandoned. These totals are much less than the originally projected amounts for 2011, made before the project was suspended, of $95.3M and $101M.
Operations & Maintenance (O&M) are the yearly costs that are expensed, or recovered dollar for dollar as they are spent. PATH-WV's total is $3.2M and PATH-Allegheny's total is $3.9M. Within O&M is the subtotal of Administrative & General (A&G) expenses. This is where a lot of PATH's wasteful spending gets shoveled off to. PATH-WV's A&G total is $1.9M and PATH-Allegheny's is $1.2M. Within A&G are some of the "problem" accounts PATH uses as "catch alls" for expenses that don't quite fit and have been repeatedly challenged, such as Outside Services (923). Now remember, the PATH Project was only active for 2 out of 12 months of 2011. You'd think, therefore, that their expenses should be 1/6 of previous activity, right? PATH-Allegheny's 923 total is $465,897, down from just over $1M in 2010. PATH-WV's 923 total is $927,503, down just slightly from $1.3M in 2010. What "outside services" do you suppose PATH spent all that money on while their project was suspended for the majority of the year?
Advertising expenses in 2011 were budgeted at $400K, but totaled only $79,626 for PATH-WV and $22,934 for PATH-Allegheny. I hope all of that wasn't spent on this stupid internet advertising campaign that relied on a bunch of unwieldy video files that took forever to load and provided a link to the PATH opposition's Coalition for Reliable Power website as an option for disgusted targets who didn't want to wait 15 minutes for a video to load. Oh, how we laughed at that! Remember "Charles Ryan Assco. has a Secret!"?
Also in A&G are Miscellaneous General Expenses (Acct. 930.2). This is where PATH hid all their "memberships," like their $20,000 "sponsorship" of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. PATH-WV's 2011 total is $12,269 and consists of $9,330 in "industry association dues" and other miscellaneous of $2,939. PATH-Allegheny, who had a real problem with recording "sponsorships," "lobbying," "donations" and "corporate stewardship" as "industry association dues" in Acct. 930.2, seems to have cleaned up their act for 2011. Their 2010 total was just over $60K, however their 2011 total is just $4,460, of which only $3,816 were "memberships." I'm guessing all the spit dried up in their mouth after the last challenge was filed.
Other interesting observations:
There are certain accounts entitled "Donations" and "Expenditures for certain civic, political and related activities" that act as deductions to income that PATH has also sorely abused. While the amounts in these accounts are not recovered directly from ratepayers, that's a slippery slope. Let's look at it this way: All PATH's income comes from ratepayers. If a ratepayer gives PATH a dollar, PATH could put it in its pocket. Or, PATH could choose to give that dollar to a lobbyist. It's really still your dollar, but PATH chooses to spend it on influencing instead of putting it in their own pocket. One of FERC's reasons for allowing companies like PATH to place CWIP in rate base is that it will generate income during project construction that can then be put back into the project, lowering borrowing and interest that would otherwise have to be repaid by ratepayers. However, instead of using your dollar to purchase project assets, PATH frittered away huge sums of project income on purchasing influence instead. PATH used "donations" to buy favor with organizations and communities, and "political activities" to hire lobbyists to influence state approvals. In 2011, PATH's "donations" were $10,424 for PATH-WV and a mind-boggling $60,153 for PATH-Allegheny, a jump of nearly $30K for a project that was supposedly "in abeyance." Of course, you gotta wonder where the expense of all those "memberships" went -- out of your pocket and into theirs? ;-) PATH-WV's "political activities" totaled $22,108 in 2011 and PATH-Allegheny's totaled $67,131.
Wrapping up here, PATH-WV over-recovered from ratepayers in 2011 again, this time in the amount of $1,238,773. This amount will be repaid to you in 2013, with 1/4 of 1% interest. However, PATH-Allegheny under-recovered in the amount of $3,992,752. This amount will be charged to you in 2013, plus the same percentage of interest.
Wow! How did they screw up their projections so badly, right? I'll tell you how. Those amounts include forfeited property option payments that the PATH companies moved from CWIP to expense in 2011 in the amount of $26,200 for PATH-WV and a whopping $2,464,112 for PATH-Allegheny. This nearly $2.5M is your money that was completely wasted by PATH during their premature push to get landowners to sign over their property before they even had necessary state permits. Because PATH thought their project was such a "done deal" they felt free to imprudently waste your money hounding landowners before their state cases had even made any progress at all. And it's not over yet! According to another report the companies have both filed, PATH-WV expects to expense another $250,000 of property options in 2012 and PATH-Allegheny is expecting $109,000.
Property option forfeiture. Dead project. Give up, PATH!