KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Last June, derecho winds knocked down trees and knocked out power to thousands of people across the Tri-State.
On Wednesday, the West Virginia Public Service Commission issued an order to help change that.
"We had to start running a generator throughout the week -- it was costing about 40 to 50 bucks a day -- power lines were down," said Larry Hess, who didn’t have power for several days at his house after the derecho.
"Actually, there were three trees on the power lines on the road that we live on," Hess continued.
Now, the West Virginia PSC doesn’t want to see a repeat performance and is ordering all electric utilities to start tree trimming programs.
"The commission recognized that a time based cycle trimming program will help us improve reliability," said Jeri Matheney, spokesperson for American Electric Power.
AEP already has tree-trimming programs in place, but the new order will force them to change their method.
"We'll trim everything on a calendar basis -- it'll be on a time basis rather than looking at the things that need trimmed most, no matter what the time period," said Matheney.
The utility companies have six months to submit their tree-trimming proposals.
"Everyone enjoys their electric and pays the bill, so they should have been on the rush -- and I think it is a convenience for them to step up and man up for America,” Hess said.
Any rate increases that could be passed down to the customers with the new program would have to be approved by the PSC.