I have been checking FirstEnergy’s Web site for news releases all day. It’s now about 4:15 pm and there is still no press release on the site about the WV PSC Harrison decision.
The only thing we have seen from FirstEnergy is this sentence in Ken Ward’s Charleston Gazette story: “Todd Meyers, a spokesman for FirstEnergy, said the company is reviewing the decision.”
It looks like FirstEnergy may not be grateful for all the generous gifts it received from Commissioners Albert and McKinney yesterday.
These commissioners imposed some conditions that Tony and the NEOs in Akron may be finding objectionable.
Condition 1 in Mr. McKinney’s and Mr. Albert’s order prevents FirstEnergy from extracting excess profits from the financially crippled Mon Power until some semblance of financial stability is restored to the WV utility.
Condition 2 is a no brainer, because if FERC does not reduces the money FirstEnergy can collect for the 80% of the Harrison plant it “sells” to Mon Power, then FirstEnergy will have to refund the difference to WV rate payers. It’s a no brainer, because if FERC cuts the price the money has to go to rate payers anyway.
Condition 3 may be the real problem. Mr. Albert’s and Mr. McKinney’s goofy mechanism for protecting rate payers from a small amount of the risk FirstEnergy is dumping on them is tied to what happens with the price of wholesale energy and capacity on PJM’s markets. FirstEnergy has boasted throughout the case that prices will be high and rate payers will reap great benefits.
To their credits, the majority commissioners aren’t quite willing to buy that pig in a poke. If prices stay low (which all analysts except FirstEnergy propagandists predict) then, according to Condition 3, FirstEnergy will have to refund some of the Harrison purchase price to rate payers.
The scheme in Condition 3 isn’t enough, and it doesn’t address the much larger risk involved with paying for Harrison in the first place, but even this PSC window dressing may be too much for FirstEnergy to swallow. Keryn has a more detailed discussion of all three conditions over at StopPATH WV.
FirstEnergy’s reticence to celebrate what looks like their great victory is a very interesting development.