September 27, 2017 Read More →

West Virginia Weighs FirstEnergy’s Bid to Pass Risk to Ratepayers

Charleston Gazette:

The state Public Service Commission began to hear testimony Tuesday in a hotly contested and controversial case over FirstEnergy’s effort to transfer one of its coal-fired power plants to a West Virginia subsidiary, a move that consumer advocates and environmental groups say is aimed at unloading an uncompetitive generation station onto ratepayers in the state’s regulated electricity market.

Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy wants to transfer its 1,600-megawatt Pleasants Power Station at Willow Island from its Allegheny Energy Supply arm to its West Virginia subsidiaries, Monongahela Power and Potomac Edison. The deal would move Pleasants from a competitive energy market to West Virginia’s regulated market, and requires prior PSC approval.

The companies say the $195 million deal would address a shortfall in generating capacity for Mon Power. The proposal includes a temporary “surcharge,” but the companies say related rate decreases will, in the end, result in $12 in annual savings to their average customer.

Critics of the FirstEnergy proposal say that the company’s promises of a rate decrease are based on overly rosy projections of the ability of the Pleasants plant’s future revenues. One witness for citizen groups filed prepared testimony arguing that the deal could end up costing ratepayers more than $400 million. PSC staff argue that the FirstEnergy proposal comes with “too many unknowns, variables and corresponding risks.”

More: PSC starts hearing on Pleasants power plant transfer

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