I’ve just read the Charleston Daily Mail’s editorial this morning on APCo’s plans to buy out Ohio Power’s shares in the Amos and Mitchell plants. I am astounded by how wrong the Daily Mail’s editorial board got this one.
First, they try to blame everything on “the government” (read “war on coal”) for forcing AEP to switch from coal to …. “wind turbines.” What??? Here in the real world, electric companies are switching from coal to natural gas fuel and electric rates in many areas of the US are falling as a result. Of course, because they never mention natural gas, the Daily Mail editors also miss the important fact that natural gas power generation is much more compatible with the rapid growth of clean, but intermittent, wind power, because gas plants can be ramped up or scaled back much more quickly than coal-fired plants. But the Daily Mail editors are much more interested in pushing their “government” bashing agenda than looking at reality.
The editorial board spends the rest of the editorial wringing their hands about how West Virginia has to knuckle under to AEP’s plans and West Virginia’s rate payers will have to grin and bear the new rate increases that are sure to come.
There does not seem to be much that West Virginia state government can do to help the company that provides electricity to so much of the state. It is galling that West Virginians apparently have no say over the chunk of the John Amos plant that Ohio Power owns.
I hate whiners. Especially when they are wrong.
First of all, the WV PSC will have to approve what amounts to the purchase of new power plants from Ohio Power that will go straight into the WV rate base. That’s something that state government can do.
The Daily Mail wants to blame the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, and not AEP’s poor management, for this mess. What is the PUCO doing wrong in the editors’ opinion? Protecting Ohio rate payers. That’s their job. The job of the PUC of Ohio is not to protect WV rate payers. That’s the job of the WV PSC.
I don’t know how the Daily Mail editorial board could have interpreted this mess any wronger. Their point seems to be to portray an Ohio-run company, Appalachian Power Company, off the hook and blame everything on “government,” all the while whining about how there is nothing that anyone can do to stop it. I stand amazed.