First Energy to deactivate Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island by Jan, 2019

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WILLOW ISLAND, W.Va. (WTAP) - First Energy says the 1,300-megawatt coal-fired Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island, WV will be deactivated to be sold or closed on January 1, 2019.

In a news release on Friday, First Energy Corp says its Allegheny Energy Supply subsidiary has notified PJM Interconnection (PJM), the regional transmission organization, of its plan to deactivate the Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island

The 1,300-megawatt (MW) plant will be sold or closed on January 1, 2019.

The plant's deactivation is subject to PJM's review for reliability impacts, if any.

In March, 2017, FirstEnergy subsidiary Mon Power filed a plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), seeking regulatory approval to acquire the Pleasants Power Station, which would have resolved a projected 10-year energy capacity shortfall and decreased electric bills for customers.

The FERC rejected that proposal on January 12, 2018.

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia approved the sale of the power plant, subject to a number of significant conditions.

First Energy says those conditions, combined with the FERC rejection, make the proposed transfer unworkable.

First Energy CEO Charles E. Jones said:

"Closing Pleasants is a very difficult choice because of the talented employees dedicated to reliable operation of the station and the communities who have supported the facility for many years. But the recent federal and West Virginia decisions leave First Energy no reasonable option but to expeditiously move forward with deactivation of the plant. We will continue to pursue opportunities to sell the plant while planning for deactivation."

The decision to deactivate the plant impacts approximately 190 employees. Affected employees may be eligible to receive severance benefits through the First Energy severance plan if the plant is closed.

The Pleasants Power Station began operation in 1979 and its two 650-megawatt generating units together produce enough electricity to power approximately 1.3 million homes, says the company.

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