CHARLESTOON — As the West Virginia Public Service Commission prepares to hear an application from two FirstEnergy Corp subsidiaries about a plan to keep Pleasants Power state business a year while it considers long-term options, the companies now say rate payers could be on the hook for more. from money.
Monongahela Power Co. and Potomac Edison Co. filed written comments Friday evening with the PSC pending an evidentiary hearing before the three-member panel on Friday.
In a filing dated March 31, the companies are seeking an order from the PSC no later than April 25 that allows the companies to enter into a letter of intent with a Texas-based Energy Transition and Environmental Management firm to operate the plant from June to May 2024. The plant will no longer provide energy during the 12-year period. months, but it will allow the station to remain operational.
The companies are seeking a temporary surcharge to cover the costs of paying ETEM to keep the plant open, estimated at $36 million paid by the two companies’ residential, commercial and industrial customers. Mon Power and Potomac Edison are working on a letter of intent with ETEM should PSC approve their Pleasants Power plan. But in Friday’s filing, the companies cited unexpected additional costs.
“During this time, companies were made aware of potential additional costs and significant risks that companies did not anticipate in the March 31 filing.” Corporate lawyers wrote.
The companies did not provide the additional amount that would be needed beyond the $36 million temporary surcharge. Some of the unexpected costs include ETEM requiring reimbursement for maintaining the plant in proper condition to restart electricity generation in the future, requiring companies to take out guarantees and compensation, and reimbursing ETEM for capital expenditures if the companies choose not to purchase Pleasants Power.
Energy Harbor, former owner of Pleasants Power (formerly FirstEnergy Solutions), transferred the station and its liabilities to ETEM, which plans to demolish the station. Energy Harbor leased the plant back from ETEM while the plant continues to operate. The plant is scheduled to close on May 31 and burn remaining coal stocks.
Mon Power and Potomac Edison will use the 12-month period to continue evaluating the factory direct purchase. Lawyers for the companies also acknowledge that LOI negotiations could extend beyond May.
“…companies and ETEM have a very short window to enter into a letter of intent (LOI) to keep growers in a fit condition to return to normal operations in the future while companies complete their assessment and develop a recommendation on next steps,” Corporate lawyers wrote.
The application by Mon Power and Potomac Edison was opposed by a coalition of consumer and environmental advocacy groups working under the banner of West Virginians for Energy Freedom. Emmett Pepper, director of policy at Energy Efficient West Virginia, a member of WV4EF, accused the companies of seeking a blank check on the backs of rate payers.
“FirstEnergy was already requiring the PSC to write a blank check to purchase this plant, paying a large amount of unspecified costs using the electricity bills of Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers. But with this update, the amount of the blank check will be much greater.” Pepper said. “With no information about the size or purpose of what approval is being sought, the only logical outcome is to dismiss this entire proposal as a bad deal for the clients who would have to pay these costs.”
Prior to Friday’s written comments from Mon Power and Potomac Edison, PSC’s Consumer Advocate Division submitted comments opposing the Pleasants Power surcharge plan.
“The only thing the interim proposal will accomplish is delay dismantling and demolishing the plant and keep the assets in working condition, without generating power or burning any coal at the Pleasants plant,” wrote Consumer Advocate Division Director Robert Williams. “Because the companies’ interim proposal offers few, if any, tangible benefits to West Virginia residential rate advocates, the Consumer Advocate Division cannot support the companies’ temporary corporate “temporary solution” and will oppose the required additional fees.”