I am writing about the proposed purchase of the Harrison County Power Station by Mon Power and Potomac Edison. This power station belongs at present to Allegheny Energy Supply.
All three companies are subsidiaries of the parent company, FirstEnergy. So one part of the company is being sold to another, and a big profit is going to the parent company. West Virginia consumers will be paying for this by increased electric bills.
Why is FirstEnergy selling the power station? FirstEnergy is in trouble, as natural gas is becoming cheaper and more available. In addition, it pollutes less. So FirstEnergy wants to offload its old, coal- powered station to West Virginia, where electricity prices are regulated. This will protect FirstEnergy from competition from natural gas.
We are told that West Virginia needs more electrical service capacity. But buying this old plant is not the best way to get it. FirstEnergy did not do a study to figure out how to increase West Virginia's capacity in a way that would benefit our state. There was no talk of campaigns to increase energy efficiency. There was no Request for Proposals to address the situation. There was no consideration of our old and haphazard delivery system. No attempt to prepare for super storms such as the two that assailed us in 2012. No, they simply are trying to sell West Virginia their obsolete coal plant.
The purchase will have to be approved by the PSC. This is a good opportunity for the PSC to move West Virginia's power companies away from over-dependence on a single fuel source.
Nationally, investments in energy efficiency cost an average of 3 cents per kilowatt hour saved.
The Harrison County plant will cost 7.4 cents per kilowatt hour generated. I know I like that math.
This information comes from Energy Efficient West Virginians, a group of businesses and organizations who have come together to promote energy efficiency in our state. You may read about them at www.eewv.org.
As a citizen concerned about the future of the state and my own electrical bill, I urge people to get involved.
Let's keep West Virginia green.