Curtis Tate Published

Senate Votes To Encourage Mon Power To Buy Pleasants Power Station

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 Pleasants Power Station has been making electricity from coal for 44 years. But the plant, which employs about 150 workers, is scheduled to shut down at the end of May.

State lawmakers moved Monday to save those jobs, by adopting a resolution to “strongly encourage” FirstEnergy subsidiary Mon Power to purchase the Pleasants plant.

Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, sponsored the resolution.

“The job losses created by such a closure stands to hurt the social fabric that binds our community together,” she said. “I urge you today to join me and vote for the passage of this resolution to support the call for Mon Power to purchase Pleasants Power Station, and preserve the jobs and tax base that provides for so many throughout the state of West Virginia.”

Boley had the support of the chamber’s few Democrats. Sen. Mike Caputo of Marion County described the impact of a power plant closure in his district. Caputo said power plants support other jobs in the community.

“So it’s more than just a few jobs to operate the facility, it’s the ancillary jobs that count, too, and that could come up into the hundreds, maybe 1,000 with the loss of that plant,” he said.

The Pleasants plant burns millions of tons of West Virginia coal each year. It provides tax revenue that supports local government services.

But owner Energy Harbor decided to close it because it was no longer economical to operate.

And, should Mon Power decide to purchase the plant, it will pass along that cost to ratepayers.

Mon Power customers’ rates already went up on Jan. 1.

Still, no senators opposed Boley’s resolution.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission gave Mon Power until March 31 to evaluate the feasibility of acquiring the Pleasants plant.