Curtis Tate Published

December’s Freeze Cost Mon Power $40.5 Million In Penalties

A person in a red jacket trucks through heavy snowfall in Amherst, New York, United States.
FILE - A person walks on the street as a winter storm rolls through Dec. 24, 2022, in Amherst N.Y. Costly weather disasters kept raining down on America last year, pounding the nation with 18 climate extremes that caused at least $1 billion in damage each, totaling more than $165 billion, federal climate scientists calculated Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. A pre-Christmas winter storm is one of 18 billion-dollar-disasters in the last year that pushed damages to the highest since 2017.
Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP Photo

Updated Friday, Nov. 17, with comment from Mon Power.

Mon Power paid a $40.5 million performance penalty to PJM interconnection for the December outage at its Harrison plant in Harrison County, according to written testimony filed this week to the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC).

PJM is the grid operator that includes West Virginia and 12 other mostly eastern states. PJM struggled to meet the demand for electricity as temperatures plummeted ahead of Christmas Eve.

A large portion of West Virginia’s coal-fired generation was not available during that critical time, including Harrison’s Unit 2.

According to the PSC testimony, Unit 2 was offline for 17 days in December. It was brought back into operation on Dec. 24 at 7 p.m, during the height of the crisis. 

Hours earlier, Mon Power had asked its customers to conserve electricity. West Virginia did not experience rolling blackouts that weekend, but some surrounding states did.

Hannah Catlett, a spokeswoman for Mon Power, said the company’s plants “performed very well with some units performing better than others.”

She said Mon Power will receive a net of $10 million in performance payments that exceed charges from PJM and that that money will be credited back to customers.

In total, PJM lost 7,600 megawatts of coal capacity and 32,500 megawatts of natural gas during the peak of the crisis.

Unit 2 is capable of generating 684 megawatts of the plant’s total output of 2,052 megawatts.

Mon Power is before the PSC seeking a rate increase that would add $10 a month to the average residential bill.