CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A spokesperson for Appalachian Power Company said Thursday the company still believes the purchase of half of the Mitchell Plant in Marshall County is the best option for its customers.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission rejected the company’s plan in a ruling this week. Appalachian Power Communications Director Jeri Matheney said the company has started to review the decision but still believes it’s proposal is a good one.
“It’s the least expensive way for us to meet the needs of our customers so that’s why we believe it’s the best way to accomplish this. So yes, we still believe that’s the right course of action.” Matheney said.
Appalachian Power needs the approval of both Virginia regulators and the West Virginia Public Service Commission to obtain half of the Mitchell Plant in Marshall County and the John Amos Power Plant in Putnam County. Both are coal-fired plants.
Virginia regulators approved the John Amos purchase while the West Virginia Public Service Commission still has both proposals under consideration.
Appalachian Power said it needs both for the plan to be successful. Company President Charles Patton testified before the West Virginia PSC last month that it’s time for his company to become “hawkish” about meeting the needs of its own customers. He said purchasing the plants would create certainty about Appalachian’s power generation needs heading into the future.
“I didn’t want to be in an arrangement (power purchase pool with other companies) that was very volatile and as I looked at it, it was going to have a significance ongoing cost to our customers,” he said.
The Virginia regulatory group said it was concerned with the Mitchell deal because Appalachian Power hasn’t operated the plant like it has John Amos. Regulators also pointed toward the lack of diversification by having control over two coal-fired plants.
Matheney said Appalachian Power has “lots of options” when considering its next step. Among those could be an appeal of the Virginia ruling or refiling the case.
“It’s definitely problematic. It makes things more complicated and we’re still assessing and trying to figure out exactly what the best course of action would be,” Matheney said.