FirstEnergy bails on plan to sell Pleasants plant

FirstEnergy Corp. stated that it will stop fighting to transfer ownership of the Pleasants power plant to Monongahela Power and Potomac Edison, FirstEnergy’s West Virginia utilities in a Feb. 5 letter to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia.

This ends a hotly contested case where numerous groups and customers lined up in opposition to the deal. 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. Our coalition of community members, local businesses, and public officials, vigorously opposed the Pleasants deal from the beginning.

“This is a major win for the 530,000 Mon Power and Potomac Edison consumers in West Virginia,” said Emmett Pepper, executive director of Energy Efficient West Virginia. “This deal was bad from the beginning and the extensive evidence presented at the PSC proceeding made clear that the proposed transfer would benefit FirstEnergy and hurt West Virginians struggling to survive in today’s economy.

“We were heartened by FERC’s decision and are thrilled to see FirstEnergy bail on its attempt to get corporate welfare from hard-working West Virginians,” said Karan Ireland of Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia

For more than a year, Ohio-based FirstEnergy has been trying to transfer the Pleasants plant near Parkersburg, owned by FirstEnergy’s unregulated subsidiary Allegheny Energy Supply, to Mon Power and Potomac Edison. FirstEnergy pursued the transfer even though its West Virginia subsidiaries, which are regulated, did not need the plant to meet the needs of customers. If this scheme had succeeded, Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers would have assumed all of the plant’s costs and financial risks, while FirstEnergy and its shareholders would receive a guaranteed revenue stream.

Thanks to the thousands of you who wrote letters and op-eds, sent faxes and signed petitions, testified at hearings, passed municipal resolutions, and made this a major public issue.