Curtis Tate Published

Testimony: Half Of Mitchell Coal Plant Could Close, Or Burn Gas


A proposal to save a coal-burning power plant in northern West Virginia raises new questions about costs and benefits for ratepayers.

Two technical experts from the West Virginia Public Service Commission filed written testimony Monday on the Mitchell Power Plant near Moundsville.

An ownership agreement currently before the commission could result in the shutdown of one of the plant’s two units, or repowering it with natural gas, they testified.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules require a wastewater treatment upgrade for the plant to remain in operation past 2028.

Kentucky Power owns half the Mitchell plant with Wheeling Power. Last year, Kentucky regulators rejected the wastewater project. The West Virginia PSC allowed the work to continue, with only West Virginia ratepayers paying for it.

Parent company American Electric Power has agreed to sell Kentucky Power.

If the sale is approved, West Virginia ratepayers could still wind up paying the full cost of the Mitchell wastewater project, even if only half the plant would need it.

A hearing set for April 7 could help resolve the issue.