MonPower and Potomac Edison submitted their plan to the state Public Service Commission Tuesday to acquire the Pleasants Power Station, owned by their parent company FirstEnergy, in Pleasants County, according to reporter Max Garland in The Charleston Gazette-Mail.
FirstEnergy said in a news release on the long-anticipated move that the plant would be “the least-cost source” to address the companies’ increasing capacity shortfall in West Virginia.
That shortfall is expected to exceed 1,400 megawatts by 2027, the release said. The capacity of the Pleasants plant is about 1,300 megawatts.
The move has been hinted at for about a year from FirstEnergy, as CEO Charles Jones has said in earnings calls that the company wants to move away from competitive energy markets to fully regulated ones like West Virginia’s, where it is guaranteed a profit.
Opponents of the move have warned the transfer would protect the company’s investors at the expense of West Virginia customers. The coalition West Virginians for Energy Freedom formed earlier this year specifically to oppose the acquisition.
“One of the issues here is that energy efficiency and other sources of energy, like natural gas, is much more cost competitive,” said member Emmett Pepper, who is also Energy Efficient West Virginia’s executive director, in a press conference in February. “Instead of using market forces and market values for what works best for customers, we’re being asked to accept what is best for [FirstEnergy].”