PUTNAM COUNTY, WV — Gov. Jim Justice signed four bills all related to West Virginia’s Coal industry today. The ceremony took place in front of a packed room at the John Amos Power Plant in Putnam County.
The John Amos Plant has a nameplate rating of 2,933 MW, making it the largest generating plant in the AEP system. AEP says the energy generated at the John Amos Plant is enough to power about 2 million homes. The plant employs around 300 people with a payroll of over $27 million dollars.
The first, HB 3308, allows the Public Service Commission to consider and issue financing orders to certain utilities to permit the recovery of certain costs through securitization via consumer rate relief bonds. It also establishes that a public electric utility may not retire, abandon, close, or otherwise permanently render incapable of operating any electric generating plant or unit without the prior consent and approval of the Public Service Commission.
The second bill, HB 3482, encourages the development, transportation and use of electricity generated using West Virginia coal. The goal of this bill is to clearly affirm that West Virginia welcomes coal-fired power, making it as easy as possible for companies to build here.
The third, HB 3303, expands the powers and duties of the Coalfield Community Development Office, which is under the Department of Economic Development. It also provides funding to the office through federal grants and portions of West Virginia’s severance tax collections.
The fourth bill, HB 609, says that no existing coal, oil, or natural gas fueled power plant shall undertake any decommissioning or deconstructing activities prior to obtaining approval from the Public Energy Authority.