The West Virginia Public Service Commission is authorizing power companies to continue negotiating a potential purchase of the coal-fired Pleasants Power Station, which has a scheduled retirement date of May 31, 2023.

Two FirstEnergy subsidiaries, Monongahela Power Co. and Potomac Edison Co., have sought to enter into a letter of intent with the operator of the plant to run it from May until June 2024 while exploring a longer-term solution.

“The Commission determines that it would be imprudent for the Companies to sit idly by while a large base load thermal power plant in their West Virginia service area, and that they once owned a portion of, is demolished without taking all steps possible to keep the Plant operative,” reads an order issued April 24 from the state’s PSC.

Pleasants is a 1300 MW two-unit coal power plant located on the Ohio River in Pleasants County, West Virginia. The 43-year-old plant employs about 150 workers.

Until late last year, it had been owned by Energy Harbor, which transferred the plant to Houston-based Energy Transition and Environmental Management (ETEM) for the purpose of demolition.

The FirstEnergy subsidiaries are seeking a surcharge for all customers that would raise $36 million to recover costs to keep the plant open for 12 months. Ratepayer and environmental advocates oppose the plan.

During the 2023 West Virginia legislative session, both the state’s Senate and House passed resolutions strongly encouraging Mon Power to continue its feasibility study and to purchase Pleasants.

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