Curtis Tate Published

Appalachian Power Files New Lawsuit Against Coal Supplier

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Appalachian Power's Mountaineer Plant in Mason County, West Virginia.
David Adkins

Appalachian Power has filed a second lawsuit against one of its largest coal suppliers, this time in New York City.

Last Friday, the company filed a complaint in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan against American Consolidated Natural Resources (ACNR).



The New York lawsuit follows one Appalachian Power filed in June in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in Columbus, Ohio. That lawsuit seeks $45 million in damages from ACNR.

In both lawsuits, Appalachian Power alleges that ACNR failed to deliver more than one million tons of coal to three power plants in West Virginia in 2021 and 2022.

The company has testified to the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) in recent months that it had to conserve its coal stockpiles at the plants late last year so it wouldn’t run out.

The John Amos, Mountaineer and Mitchell plants were idled for prolonged periods late last year amid the shortfall. Some of the outages were for routine maintenance and repair, the company testified.

Without the plants running, Appalachian Power had to purchase electricity from the PJM market to meet customer needs, but at high prices. PJM is a regional electricity market that includes West Virginia and 12 other states. Coal and natural gas prices have been high since last year.

Appalachian Power is seeking approval from the PSC to recover $297 million in overages related to the coal shortage and purchased power.

Residents, local governments and industrial users have uniformly opposed the proposal. The average residential user would pay $18 more a month if the PSC approves the request.

On Tuesday, 17 members of Charleston’s City Council filed a letter with the PSC in opposition.

The New York lawsuit doesn’t specify a damage amount. It says the coal supply problems have persisted into 2022.

ACNR has countersued Appalachian Power in Ohio, alleging the utility failed to arrange for transportation for or accept delivery of the coal.

ACNR owns some of the assets of Murray Energy, which filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

Appalachian Power is an underwriter of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.