(WOWK)—On Tuesday, the West Virginia Public Service Commission approved Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power Company’s request to keep the John E. Amos, Mountaineer, and Mitchell plants operational until at least 2040.
This will come with a cost to ratepayers directly on their bills.
“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Companies will be given the opportunity to recover, from West Virginia customers, the new capital and operating costs arising solely from our directive to operate the Plants beyond 2028 if the Commission finds that the costs are reasonably and prudently incurred,” reads the PSC’s order.
Emmett Pepper with Energy-Efficient West Virginia says West Virginian’s hands are tied.
“This is using the government to force ratepayers, to force regular West Virginians to pay for these companies,” he said.
The AARP also said they were deeply disappointed at the PSC’s decision.
In a statement, state director Gaylene Miller wrote: “Thanks to the swift action of the Commission, American Electric Power will recoup its half-billion investment solely on the backs of West Virginia ratepayers.”
The upgrades at the plants are federally required for them to continue to be operational and are estimated to cost West Virginians an average of $50 more a year.
West Virginia Coal Association had actively lobbied for this, citing jobs and the state economy.
Coincidentally, Bill Raney, the retired coal association’s chief, is now one of three commissioners at the Public Service Commission.
“We’ve seen our rates go up 150% in the last 15 years and so this is just going to lock us in for more rate increases over time,” said Pepper.