MonPower and Potomac Edison insist their request to purchase the Pleasants Power Station from fellow FirstEnergy subsidiary Allegheny Energy Supply is the best option for the companies and their ratepayers, citing low cost, a better chance to avoid costly penalties and local economic benefits.
In the utility companies’ long-expected, 432-page filing to the state Public Service Commission last week, they elaborated on why they chose Pleasants specifically to address their capacity shortfall and the measures they took to make the bid process fair and open.
“It is a well-known asset, a high performer, and lacks the uncertainty and risks of a development project,” said Holly Kauffman, FirstEnergy’s president of West Virginia operations, in prepared testimony.
However, advocacy groups such as West Virginians for Energy Freedom have said the purchase would shift the financial risk of the coal-fired power plant from investors to West Virginia customers, who already have experienced several rate increases in recent years. They argue using a coal-fired power plant would be costlier than relying on the region’s cheaper supply of natural gas.