The first batch of campaign finance reports that would cover the 2012 legislative session are in! :-) Now we can find out what really happened to SB162, the Least Cost Planning Bill.
The Bill was introduced on January 12, 2012, and was enthusiastically supported by electric ratepayers all over the state, with a very large, very vocal contingent from West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, specifically Jefferson County.
The legislation was also vehemently opposed by American Electric Power and FirstEnergy, who claimed that planning to provide ratepayers with electric power at the least system cost was just too expensive for them. The power company lobbyists continually hammered on the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to water down the bill and remove any reference to the words "least cost." They also prevented it from being voted on by the Committee, although most Committee members voiced support for the bill.
On January 25, Senator Herb Snyder (D-Jefferson) received a $1,000 contribution to his re-election campaign from the comically-named American Electric Power Committee for Responsible Government. Senator Snyder represents the citizen of Jefferson County. AEP has no business interests or operations in Jefferson County. I guess they must just think Herb's a swell guy.
On January 26, Senator Snyder received a $500 contribution to his re-election campaign from FirstEnergy's PAC. At least FirstEnergy has business interests in Jefferson County, but they only seem to think Herb is half as swell as AEP does.
On February 8, during a personal visit to Sen. Snyder's office, he told a contingent of his Jefferson County constituents (who drove 10 hours and spent two nights in a hotel just to get some face time with our boy Herb) that he supported the Least Cost Planning bill and would do his best to see that it was successful. Herb complained about power company lobbyists spending too much time at the Public Service Commission trying to exert influence. Herb looked disturbed to be reminded by a constituent that power company lobbyists also spend way too much time prowling the halls of the Capitol trying to exert influence as well.
Don't forget to vote in November! :-)
P.S. Yes, in case you were wondering, I did have a great, big, glass of this over the weekend.