Charleston, W.Va. – The three-day hearing is over. Now it’s wait and see for both sides in the Harrison Power Station purchase plan.
Mon Power presented their case to the state Public Service Commission last week. Attorneys say there are multiple reasons why the company needs to purchase the power station near Shinnston from a subsidiary of parent company First Energy, for $1.1-billion.
Todd Myers with Mon Power says he thinks they made a good case based on their number one motive.
“We believe our proposed Harrison transaction is in the best interest of customers,” according to Myers.
Byron Harris, state Consumer Advocate, argued against that.
“We highlighted, from our perspective, some inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the company’s statements and presentations,” says Harris.
Those include reasonable price negotiation, undue influence and what’s in the best interest of the customer.
“The Consumer Advocate Decision happens to believe that the transaction fails all three of those prongs of the statutory test,” says Harris.
He believes they were able to prove that during the three-day hearing.
“The ownership of Harrison will not be economic from now through 2029 and then they assume paying dividends after that,” says Harrison. “That’s an enormous risk to put on rate payers.”
Myers says whether Mon Power purchases the plant, decides to build a gas-fired power plant or buys electricity off the spot market, the same outcome will occur. Rates are going to go up, regardless.
“We believe it’s best to buy a hard asset in the heart of our service territory,” stresses Myers. “The Harrison plant is a plant that burns 5-million tons of local coal each year.”
Myers says by purchasing the plant they can more accurately predict what the cost will be for consumers and hopefully stabilize rates in the long run.
The PSC has called for briefs no later than July 9th. The 3-member panel is expected to make a decision within two to three months.