Last Thursday, AEP CEO Mike Morris held AEP’s quarterly investor conference call. Here is a link to the transcript. In the Q&A at the end of the call, Paul Ridzon of KeyBanc Capital Markets asked Morris about the failed PATH project. Ouch.
Morris kind of loses it and goes into several rants, trashing PJM, combined cycle natural gas power plants, demand response and even, obliquely, FirstEnergy. Keryn does a great job of dissecting Morris’s tantrum at StopPATH WV. In this post, I want to focus on this statement that Morris made:
And we stand ready to move forward on that project [PATH], with or without our current partners.
Oh really. This statement is very interesting. I always thought it was very peculiar that FirstEnergy announced the completion of its merger with Allegheny Energy and, at the beginning of the next week, PJM announced the death of PATH. Could it be that FirstEnergy didn’t want to be AEP’s lil’ buddy any more?
So how exactly would Mike go about “moving forward” on PATH “without our current partners”? Almost all of PATH’s route went through the Allegheny (now FirstEnergy) service area. Only the Kanawha County segment of the line was in AEP territory. All the rest went through FirstEnergy’s service area. Just how would that work, Mike?
FirstEnergy now owns an arc of power companies stretching all the way across PA from it’s northern OH home base to NJ. Why would FE be interested in building a new transmission line across WV that only benefits its biggest rival in PJM?
Poor Mike Morris. All of his 2006 fantasies have gone up in smoke. No AEP-controlled “I-765” from sea to shining sea. No Project Mountaineer. And what will happen to AEP’s Transco, now that PATH has collapsed?
Maybe those rumors that Morningstar picked up last fall are turning out to be true.