Update: FirstEnergy announced it will be deactivating plant unless it can secure a sale by January 2019.
Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. has given notice to West Virginia’s Public Service Commission (PSC) that it will stop its efforts to transfer ownership of the Pleasants Power plant to Monongahela Power and Potomac Edison. Had this bad deal gone through, it would have cost each West Virginia ratepayer an average of $69 per year. FirstEnergy wanted to transfer ownership of the plant from its unregulated subsidiary in Ohio to its regulated subsidiaries in West Virginia. Doing so would have put West Virginia ratepayers on the hook for FirstEnergy’s unprofitable power plant. A broad coalition of West Virginians joined together under the banner of West Virginians For Energy Freedom to fight this bad deal.
FirstEnergy’s announcement followed setbacks at both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the PSC. FERC denied FirstEnergy’s request to transfer the plant in mid-January. It did so because of concerns that West Virginia customers would be forced to subsidize FirstEnergy’s unregulated business. In late January, the PSC established several conditions aimed at protecting customers from financial and legal risks that FirstEnergy would have to meet if the transfer went forward.
In its letter to the PSC, FirstEnergy indicated it would not agree to the conditions the PSC placed on the transfer because they would expose the company to unacceptable risks. These were the very risks FirstEnergy tried to force on customers through its proposal.
More than 2,500 people, businesses, nonprofits, and cities opposed the Pleasants sale by speaking at the PSC’s three public hearings, passing municipal resolutions, filing letters of protest with the PSC, writing letters to the editor, and signing petitions.
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