It's because the utility shows up with a fully formed "plan," then goes through the motions of "consulting with the community," but completely fails to allow the community any meaningful role in determining its own destiny.
In the example, AEP wants to put up some taller, metal towers on one of its easements. The affected townspeople want to be involved in concocting a plan that would satisfy any genuine need for this work. Because a true community consultation process could change the process undertaken to reach a common goal, AEP is resisting the involvement of the town in any actual planning. AEP's idea is that it alone concocts a plan, then "consults" with the community by informing them of AEP's plan and expecting the community to buy-in and support it.
This will never happen. Approaching a community with a front-load fait accompli plan is a recipe for creating opposition.
Here's a better method: Approach the community with a goal. Present several ways to reach the goal. Accept and truly consider other ideas contributed by the community during the consultation process. Allow the community to participate in the decision making to select an alternative that both the community and the company can live with. Receive community buy-in and support of project. Build project. Retain community respect and goodwill. Simple.
However, it's apparently much too complex a lesson for an arrogant industry with control-freak tendencies to ever learn. When a community is prohibited from participating in decision-making, there is no buy-in, only resistance. Stasis or momentum... ultimately the choice is the utility's.