Inside FirstEnergy’s plan to soak ratepayers

FirstEnergy is seeking a bailout from West Virginia ratepayers. Recently, FirstEnergy, the parent company of Mon Power and Potomac Edison, filed an integrated resource plan (IRP) with the state Public Service Commission. The IRP is the utility’s 15-year forecast of how it will source the power for its customers. The company is required to bring it before the PSC for the commissioners to review. First Energy’s plan indicates that it wants Mon Power to purchase the struggling Pleasants Power Station from one of FirstEnergy’s deregulated subsidiaries.

This would have a major negative financial impact to West Virginia ratepayers.

The Pleasants Power Station is struggling to compete against less expensive power sources. Were Mon Power to purchase the plant, West Virginia ratepayers would be on the hook for covering its costs for the next couple decades.

As a regulated utility, Mon Power is guaranteed a positive rate of return. This guarantee comes from its ratepayers, us. By bringing this struggling power plant under the Mon Power umbrella, FirstEnergy would force us to pay the cost of the company’s bad investment.

This sale would lock Mon Power and Potomac Edison ratepayers into yet more overpriced power. Ratepayer dollars that are invested into obsolete generation technology like this are dollars not invested in the energy future we want.

Mon Power hasn’t officially asked the Public Service Commission for approval to buy the plant. The IRP it filed claims the utility needs to buy more capacity. It argues shuffling the labels on who owns the Pleasant plant is the way to do so.

The money that West Virginians would pay for the Pleasant plant could be better invested in modernizing our electric grid and in locally owned, decentralized power.

WV SUN filed comments on the integrated resource plan last month. We will keep you updated when the Pleasants case is actually filed and there is an opportunity for public comment.

Background

FirstEnergy’s IRP: http://www.psc.state.wv.us/scripts/WebDocket/ViewDocument.cfm?CaseActivityID=441858&NotType=%27WebDocket%27

Analysis of FirstEnergy’s IRP: http://ieefa.org/firstenergy-brings-bailout-show-west-virginia%E2%80%A8/

WV SUN comments on FirstEnergy’s IRP: http://www.psc.state.wv.us/scripts/WebDocket/ViewDocument.cfm?CaseActivityID=449590&NotType=%27WebDocket%27

Charleston Gazette Story about IRP: www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20160427/firstenergy-ceo-says-pleasants-power-plant-sale-may-happen