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Mon Power, Potomac Edison file to buy Pleasants power plant

FAIRMONT — FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiaries Mon Power and Potomac Edison Tuesday filed a plan seeking regulatory approval to acquire the Pleasants Power Station (Pleasants) in Willow Island, as the least-cost source to meet an increasing capacity shortfall in the companies’ West Virginia service areas, officials said.

If the purchase of Pleasants is approved by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, monthly bills for typical Mon Power and Potomac Edison West Virginia residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month would drop about $1 a month, or $12 a year, said the companies in a press release.

The proposed Pleasants purchase also will help preserve coal-related jobs and provide other economic benefits, the power companies said.

The plant employs about 200 people, consumes more than 3.4 million tons of coal a year and pays millions of dollars in annual property taxes.

The latest energy forecasts showed a capacity shortfall is expected to exceed 1,400 megawatts by 2027 for Mon Power, which also provides capacity and electricity for Potomac Edison customers in the state’s Eastern Panhandle, officials said. Capacity is the commitment of generation or other resources to be available to provide electricity, particularly when demand surges during extreme cold snaps or heat waves.

To address future capacity needs, a competitive request for proposals process was implemented using a nationally recognized, independent consultant, the power companies said. After evaluating the proposals, the consultant recommended to Mon Power the purchase of Pleasants as the most economical option.

At a cost of $195 million, the proposed acquisition of Pleasants from FirstEnergy affiliate Allegheny Energy Supply is less expensive than any other bid, officials said.

“The purchase of the Pleasants plant is a win-win-win for our West Virginia customers by securing a local, reliable source of electricity to meet future needs, while lowering rates and continuing significant economic benefits for Pleasants County and surrounding areas,” said Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy’s West Virginia operations. “The Pleasants option is expected to save customers money, preserve vital jobs in the coal industry and provide millions of dollars paid in taxes to support local services and schools.”

The Pleasants plant capacity is about 1,300 MW. The RFP also requested up to 100 MWs of demand-response resources, but no such proposals were received.

Mon Power supplies electricity to both its 385,500 customers and 137,000 Potomac Edison customers in the state’s Eastern Panhandle.

FirstEnergy Corp.’s 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, while its generation subsidiaries control nearly 17,000 megawatts of capacity from scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro and other renewables, officials said.

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