Aging WV Power Plant Slated to Close, Utilities Propose Keeping It Open
Monday, April 10, 2023
An aging power plant in Belmont, West Virginia is slated to shut its doors this year. But two utilities, Monongahela Power Company and Potomac Edison, want to temporarily keep it open - and raise customers' bills to do so.
If the state's Public Service Commission greenlights the companies' proposal, residents would be charged an additional $3 million per month to keep the Pleasants Power Plant operating for one year.
The Sierra Club's Senior Campaign Representative for Central Appalachia Karan May said the move is bad deal for ratepayers already struggling with high gas prices and inflation.
She suggested that the utilities instead expand their renewable power and energy-efficiency programs.
"Definitely, they should not be burdening ratepayers with additional expenditures," said May, "on an aging and uneconomic coal plant that we simply don't need."
In a written statement, FirstEnergy Corp - which owns Mon Power and Potomac Edison - says while the companies have proposed to keep Pleasants in operational condition, they continue to evaluate a potential purchase, and that analysis is not yet finalized.
A public hearing on the case is coming up April 21 in Charleston.
Emmett Pepper, policy director with the group Energy Efficient West Virginia, pointed out that - in addition to paying for the plant's operation for at least a year - customers would likely have to foot the bill for any upgrades or repairs.
"They're seeking to use the power of government," said Pepper, "to require us captive ratepayers to pay more, to keep their plant operating."
Pleasants Power Plant first opened its doors in 1979.
People who can't attend the hearing can make their views known on the Public Service Commission's website by clicking on "Submit a Comment."
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