At a time when we have seen energy bills rising, Appalachian Power is proposing to purchase the Mitchell and Amos coal-fired power plants, at the cost of more than a billion dollars.
Although the company claims that rates will not go up, it seems inevitable that we, the West Virginia ratepayers, will see that cost reflected in our bills at some point.
Coal has gotten expensive and is a bad investment when we have better options available. Also, the coal industry has seen thousands of job cuts in the last 20 years and studies (and programs in other states) are showing that energy efficiency programs can produce thousands of jobs in West Virginia over the next few years (weatherization, construction, etc.) that can put laid-off miners to work. We need jobs in West Virginia, not higher bills.
If the Public Service Commission rejects the purchase of these outdated plants, they will remain open under current ownership (as long as they remain competitive) and will continue to operate the same as always and no jobs will be lost; West Virginia ratepayers just won’t be footing the bill.
Appalachian Power needs to at least test the market by asking for proposals to diversify West Virginia’s energy mix, like expanding energy efficiency programs to provide the needed support for ratepayers to use less energy and pay lower bills.
Although a representative of Appalachian Power told me they already have some energy efficiency programs in place, these programs are limited and are much skimpier than in surrounding states. Kentucky, for example, has several rebate programs in place that don’t exist in West Virginia.
I did one Internet search and came up with multiple ways other states are saving money and creating jobs. West Virginia needs to get on this train. Please write to the Public Service Commission about case #12-1655 and tell them to reject Appalachian Power’s proposal to buy these expensive, outdated plants.