Lawmakers are considering a proposal to give the state sweeping powers over utilities that provide water and sewer service.
The measure discussed at the Capitol yesterday would allow the Public Service Commission to identify failing utilities and order them to be taken over by successful utilities.
It would also allow the P.S.C. to take over failing utilities by eminent domain.
The P.S.C. has said there are hundreds of utilities in West Virginia that are failing or in danger of failure. But representatives from public utilities say the plan is a bad idea.
Jim Green, general manager of the Morgantown Utility Board, said the proposal would penalize everyone except the owners of failed utilities.
The legislative committee studying the issue wants to have draft legislation ready by January.