Curtis Tate Published

PSC Schedules Hearing On Mon Power Plan To Operate Pleasants Plant

Steam rises from the two cooling towers at the Pleasants Power Station, with emissions from burning coal pouring out of a tall stack equipped with scrubbers.
The Pleasants Power Station in Pleasants County, West Virginia.
Janet Kunicki/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Public Service Commission has scheduled a hearing on April 21 to consider Mon Power’s proposal to operate the Pleasants Power Station on a temporary basis.

State lawmakers had encouraged Mon Power to purchase the 44-year-old power plant in Pleasants County to preserve the jobs and tax revenue it generates.

Last week, Mon Power proposed to extend the plant’s life for a year beyond its planned May 31 shutdown and use the time to further evaluate whether it should purchase the plant outright.

Mon Power would impose a surcharge of $3 million a month on ratepayers, which would raise monthly bills about 2.2 percent, or $2.67 for the average residential user.

Environmental and consumer groups have argued against the acquisition of Pleasants. They say Mon Power doesn’t need the plant and should consider renewable alternatives.

Longview Power, which operates a newer, more efficient coal plant in northern West Virginia, has testified that Mon Power should purchase the electricity it generates instead.

The Pleasants plant could have closed sooner, but in 2019, the state legislature and Gov. Jim Justice bailed it out with a $12.5 million tax break. 

Its current owner, Energy Harbor, will be acquired by Texas-based Vistra Energy. Vistra wants Energy Harbor’s nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but none of its coal plants.