Statement Opposing Pleasants Power Station Boondoggle
In 2013, the League of Women Voters of West Virginia opposed Mon Power and Potomac Edison’s proposed purchase of 80% of the Harrison power plant. At that time we sent a clear message to the West Virginia Public Service Commission:
Customers should not be forced to pay for a purchase that will raise the costs of their electricity. Furthermore the purchase of the Harrison power plant would lock in costs for many generations, so that better alternatives would be precluded.
Rather than paying for the high costs of the Harrison power plant, Mon Power and Potomac Edison could bid for cheaper power from other sources and install more energy efficiency into its production. Also they could lessen demand by aiding customers in energy efficiency means as many power companies have done. All would result in smaller energy costs to ratepayers.
Once again, we are confronted with a similar situation, this time involving the purchase of the Pleasants Power Station that is currently operating in a deregulated electricity market where it is struggling to compete against less expensive power sources. The League firmly opposes this new attempt by FirstEnergy Corp. to offload this plant to our regulated market because of debt the company has acquired due to its own lack of foresight in the transitioning energy markets.
The state of West Virginia is a net exporter of electricity, providing almost 5% of the nation’s total energy, largely because of its coal production. However, many states receiving our electricity from the grid are phasing out coal generated electricity. It is time that West Virginia does the same. Even as this statement is being written, a massive iceberg the size of Delaware is very close to breaking free from Antarctica, due to a huge, widening crack in the 10,000 year-old Larsen ice shelf.
The financial costs for West Virginians from climate change will vastly exceed any profits for FirstEnergy Corp. shareholders. Switching the power station’s financial risks from stockholders to ratepayers will not benefit the people of West Virginia, and in the final analysis they will be the net losers.
Therefore, we ask the Public Service Commission not to approve passing the costs from FirstEnergy’s own boondoggle to the ratepayers of West Virginia
League of Women Voters of West Virginia
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Board Member
Nancy Novak, President