Harrison plant to cost FirstEnergy WV customers $6/month in 2013 - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Harrison plant to cost FirstEnergy WV customers $6/month in 2013

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Mon Power's proposed purchase of the coal-fired Harrison station would initially cost Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers a monthly surcharge of $5.63 per month.

The FirstEnergy companies filed the rate information Jan. 29 with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia as a supplement to Mon Power's November filing proposing the purchase.

Mon Power, which also provides power to Potomac Edison customers, faces an increasing shortage of generation in coming years. To meet the expected need, the utility proposes to purchase the 80 percent it does not own of Harrison Power Station in Harrison County. In combination with the release of a small part Mon Power owns of Pleasants station, the transaction would cost about $1.1 billion.

Mon Power provided little comparison in the November filing or in an August Resource Plan of the cost of the proposed transaction with the cost of other possible means of meeting future need: a new natural gas combined cycle power plant that would take advantage of the expected years to come of low-priced natural gas, for example, or more aggressive efficiency programs that would reduce use.

Rates for Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers fell Jan. 1 due to lower coal and purchased power costs — reducing an average monthly bill 5 percent, from $99.07 to $94.31. The utilities propose to file a base rate case within six months if the generation resource transaction is approved. Following approval, the surcharge would take the average monthly bill to $99.94.

Cost and other questions will be pursued in the coming months by intervenors the Consumer Advocate Division of the PSC, the West Virginia Energy Users Group of large industrial electricity users, the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, the Utility Workers Union of American, the Sierra Club and the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia.

Follow Mon Power's generation resource transaction case under case number 12-1571-E-PC on the PSC's website.