CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The future of a controversial West Virginia power plant is once again being debated.

The debate is over the Pleasants Power Station in Pleasants County. About four years ago, the state went through a very similar issue with the Pleasants Power Station, and now it’s back on the front burner.

West Virginia’s House of Delegates and State Senate have both passed resolutions to keep the Pleasants Power Plant near Saint Mary’s up and running. They are urging Mon Power to buy the facility from the current owner, First Energy. The state passed millions in subsidies four years ago to keep the plant running. Governor Jim Justice says it’s all about preserving jobs, but critics say electric ratepayers will get stuck with higher bills.

“The Senate, the House, and myself are going to do any and everything we possibly can, to make this become a reality, to where this plant works for many, many years to come, and runs as a coal-fired power plant. We need it,” said Justice.

“And if that happens, because it is a regulated monopoly, all of the costs that are associated with the plant, go and are paid for by you and me the ratepayers. Electric ratepayers that are Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers,” said Emmett Pepper, Energy Efficient West Virginia.

Critics say most of the power generated at Pleasants is sold to out-of-state concerns.
Supporters say that doesn’t matter because it still generates jobs and coal sales within West Virginia. The Public Service Commission ultimately decides the matter, but no hearing date has been set.

While the legislature and governor have urged Mon Power to buy the troubled plant, the utility has yet to make an offer, so we’re still at square one.