FirstEnergy plans to close power plant if no buyer found

ST. MARYS, W.Va. (AP) — FirstEnergy says if it doesn’t find a buyer for a West Virginia coal-fired power plant, it will close the facility at the beginning of next year.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that deactivating the Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island would affect about 190 employees, who are eligible for severance benefits if the plant closes, according to the company.

FirstEnergy attempted for more than a year to transfer the 1,300-megawatt plant to subsidiaries, but the debated deal was blocked by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The West Virginia Public Service Commission approved the deal, subject to conditions.

CEO Charles Jones said closing the plant is a hard decision but that the federal rejection and the state PSC ruling didn’t leave any other reasonable option.

The plant began operations in 1979.

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