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PUCO Demands Sworn Statements from Environmentalists and Others Backin AEP's Coal-Guarantee Plan

Sammis power plant

  The state’s utility regulators are looking over a plan that would guarantee a profit for two utilities that operate coal plants by raising the price on electric bills. And they want to hear why certain groups are OK with it.

AEP’s latest draft would keep three coal units afloat for eight years and then guarantee their closure by 2030.

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel represents customers in these cases. The counsel's William Michael wants three groups, IGS Energy,Direct Energy and the Sierra Club, to give depositions on why they aren’t opposing AEP’s plan.

“This is a $2 billion case. It is a case of the most gravity and I think the commission would benefit from a very robust record.”

Those groups argued that answering questions about why they signed off on the plan could violate attorney-client privileges.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruled for the consumers' counsel and asked those three groups to provide depositions at some point this week.

Akron-based FirstEnergy also wants a coal-plant guarantee, but has yet to get the support of any environmentalists. Both it and AEP says consumers would benefit in the long run.