Appalachian Power: Plans to close 3 power plants documented since 2011

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Staff attorneys want the West Virginia Public Service Commission to require Appalachian Power Company to submit more information on why it plans to close three coal-burning power plants by June 1.

The petition, filed Friday, may be in response to a recent filing by the company reminding the PSC of its plans.

The Kanawha River plant in Glasgow that opened in 1953 is scheduled close in a matter of days because it no longer meets federal regulations.

“This (the closings) is not a surprise to anyone. It’s certainly something that we haven’t looked forward to. It’s going to be a sad day when these plants close but it’s not a surprise,” Appalachian Power communications director Jeri Matheney told MetroNews Tuesday.

The plants no longer meet federal clean-air regulations handed down by the federal EPA. Matheney said the company announced in 2011 its plans to close the Philip Sporn Plant in Mason County, the Kammer Plant in Marshall County and the Kanawha River Valley plant in Kanawha County.

Kammer has already closed while Sporn and Kanawha River are just days away from shutting down.

The PSC staff said the company hasn’t provided enough information on how it reached decisions to close the plants. Matheney claimed those reasons were discussed in at least three cases before the PSC.

“We’ve reviewed why we needed to purchase additional generation—that it was to make up for the closures of these plants,” she said.

The company received approval to convert the Clinch River Plant in Cleveland, Va., to natural gas, it purchased two-thirds of one unit at the John Amos Plant in Putnam County and purchased 50 percent of the Mitchell Plant in Marshall County. The plants that are closing have only been used in recent years for extra capacity during extremely cold or extremely warm days.

While the PSC has yet to rule on the attorneys’ request, Matheney said the utility company is ready to finalize the shutdowns.

“Almost everyone at the plants is either going to another job within the company that we are holding open for them for when their job ends or they are choosing to retire,” she said.





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