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Mon Dec 16, 2019, 10:06 AM

FirstEnergy Solutions can't cancel coal-plant contracts until feds have chance to weigh in, court

FirstEnergy Solutions can’t cancel coal-plant contracts until feds have chance to weigh in, court rules

By Jeremy Pelzer

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Before FirstEnergy Solutions is allowed to cancel its contract with two money-losing coal power plants, federal regulators must get a chance to weigh in, a federal appeals court panel ruled Thursday.

The decision reopens the chance that FirstEnergy Solutions, which is in bankruptcy proceedings, might have to eat some of the $268 million it expects to lose through 2040 if it doesn’t cancel its contract with the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation. Otherwise, customers of other power companies in OVEC – AEP, Dayton Power & Light, and Duke Energy – would likely end up having to pay for FirstEnergy Solutions’ share of the costs to run and, ultimately, decommission OVEC’s Kyger Creek plant in Ohio and Clifty Creek plant in Indiana.

A federal bankruptcy court ruled in 2018 that FirstEnergy Solutions, because it is in bankruptcy, could break its 4.85-percent stake in OVEC. The bankruptcy court also held that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had no jurisdiction to even provide an opinion on whether such a move would harm the public interest.

Thursday’s appeals court ruling doesn’t affect the ability of FirstEnergy Solutions -- which is planning to rename itself Energy Harbor -- to cancel its OVEC contracts. But it does allow the FERC to give the bankruptcy court its opinion about how breaking the OVEC contract would affect things like consumer rates, decommissioning costs and power production.

Read more: https://www.cleveland.com/open/2019/12/firstenergy-solutions-cant-cancel-coal-plant-contracts-until-feds-have-chance-to-weigh-in-court-rules.html

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