Sumer Shaikh, firstname.lastname@example.org, (774) 545-0128
Charleston, WV -- Today, the Sierra Club challenged the approval by the West Virginia Public Service Commission of an amended power purchase agreement that will allow the dirty and uneconomic Grant Town coal-fired power plant to continue to operate, with West Virginia electric customers bearing the costs.
Attorneys with the public interest law firm Appalachian Mountain Advocates filed the appeal on behalf of the Sierra Club in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and argued that the order by the Commission authorizing Monongahela Power Company to charge its ratepayers for power it buys from American Bituminous Power Partners, the owner and operator of the Marion County plant, contains legal errors.
Mon Power, a FirstEnergy subsidiary and regulated utility, purchases power generated by the Grant Town plant and passes the cost of purchasing power from the money-losing plant to West Virginia customers in their electric rates. Between 2013 and 2016, payments to Grant Town exceeded the market price of power by over $56 million. The 96-megawatt (80-megawatt summer capacity) coal-fired power plant is among the many plants in the nation that are outdated, expensive, and bound for retirement. The cost of generating coal-fired power at Grant Town is far higher than available alternatives. Despite the availability of cheaper and cleaner sources of electricity, the Commission has approved passing on the high costs of Mon Power’s purchase of power from the plant to West Virginia consumers. Residue of the coal burnt at the site is disposed of in abandoned mining sites, which negatively impact water and air quality in nearby communities and threaten human health and the environment.
“In approving the pass through of the cost of buying power from an outdated, dirty coal-plant, West Virginia’s PSC has shown that it favors bailing out corporate polluters over prioritizing West Virginia ratepayers and local economies,” Justin Raines, Chair of the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club said. “Across the country coal plants are being shut down at a rapid rate as renewable energy, such as wind and solar, is proving to be cheaper for ratepayers, helping to diversify local economies, and protecting health and the environment. West Virginia should be moving towards these cleaner energy technologies rather than propping up costly fossil-fueled power plants that hurt our communities.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.