The West Virginia Public Service Commission met in Weirton Sept. 30 in Weirton for a public hearing on the fate of the Newell Water Company. Owned by Homer Laughlin China, the Newell Company provides water and sewage to customers in the Newell area. The Company has indicated it is in financial trouble and has asked the c Public Service Commission to declare it a distressed company and require Tomlinson PSD take over the water needs of its customers and Hancock PSD take over the sewage needs.
The State has allocated in grants to allow both Tomlinson PSD and Hancock PSD to assist both PSD in determining if it is feasible to assume the responsibility and what financial resources would be necessary to make that happen. The West Virginia Public Service Commission has not ordered either PSD to assume the operation of the Newell Plantat this point.
On hand at the hearing were Newell resident Roy Palmateer and a representative of the Newell Fire Department Mike Nixon. Speaking against the Newell Company bailout, Nixon said in the absence of an official government (Newell is in an unincorporated area) the Fire Department is the official entity speaking for the community.
Nixon also questioned why the public heaing was located in Weirton while those affected residents live in the Newell area. Public Service Commission staff stated they could not locate a facility large enough to house a public hearing. Those in attendance refuted that claim mentioning the Wells Building, Fire Hall and Legion.
Also in attendance were attorneys for Tomlinson and Hancock PSDs, attorney for Homer Laughlin, and County Commissioners Paul Cowey, Jeff Davis and Eron Chek.