West Virginia’s Public Service Commission was absolutely right to reject a proposal by Appalachian Power to buy two wind farms and have Mountain State consumers foot the bill.
Our state already has paid dearly for the misguided national campaign against relatively low-priced electricity from coal. Ten years ago, the average price for a kilowatt-hour of power in our state was 5.61 cents. Now, the average is 9 cents. It has been one of the steepest upward climbs in the nation.
Appalachian had argued that buying the wind farms, one in Greenbrier County and the other in Ohio, would save customers money. The PSC staff differed.
Relying on the wind farms instead of buying power on the open market would cost West Virginia customers $50 million more, the PSC staff concluded. And, of course, there is the question of reliability: Wind farms generate electricity only when the wind is blowing.
In rejecting Appalachian’s bid, PSC officials took note of the fact that their regulatory counterparts in Virginia had done the same thing earlier this year.
According to a published report, an Appalachian official has said buying the wind farms would move the company toward being “an energy company of the future.”
Good for the PSC for recognizing that many West Virginians are worried about paying their electric bills now.
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