Virginia regulators reject request for WVa plant upgrades

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An electric utility will evaluate its next steps after regulators in Virginia rejected a rate increase request aimed at extending the life of some coal-fired generating plants in West Virginia, a company spokesman said.

The Virginia Corporation Commission on Monday rejected American Electric Power subsidiary Appalachian Power’s request to make upgrades to comply with federal environmental regulations and pass the costs on to consumers, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported.

The upgrades would have kept the John Amos plant in Winfield and the Mountaineer power plant in New Haven operating through 2040. Under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules, failing to make those upgrades would require the plants to close in 2028.

The Virginia commission had to weight in on the proposal because customers in Virginia are served by the West Virginia plants.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission earlier granted an upgrade request involving the two plants along with the Mitchell plant in Moundsville, West Virginia, which is jointly operated by AEP subsidiaries Wheeling Power and Kentucky Power. But Kentucky regulators last month rejected Kentucky Power’s portion of the upgrades.

Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye said in a statement the company will evaluate its options, “determine the best path forward to meet the resource needs in each state, and return to the commissions if necessary for consideration of our updated costs and plans.”