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PUC Commissioner Witmer: Questions Remain Unanswered as FirstEnergy Planned Power Plant Closures Loom

October 03, 2013

MONONGAHELA – As part of her testimony before the state House Consumer Affairs Committee, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer today highlighted that many questions are left unanswered by FirstEnergy on its decision to close the Hatfield’s Ferry and Mitchell power plants in western Pennsylvania.

“The PUC’s role is to ensure reliability of the electric service at reasonable rates for consumers and also balance the needs of utility companies, but these two facilities both generate together about 2,000 MW of power and that base load of generation is enough to power about a million and a half Pennsylvania homes for a year,” said Commissioner Witmer in a video news release. “We are concerned that there will not be enough power for reliability of the grid for consumers.”

In her testimony, Commissioner Witmer said it was her obligation as a PUC Commissioner “to ask tough questions and ensure that every possible alternative short of closure has been fully explored and vetted.” The PUC supports the restructured electricity market in Pennsylvania, she said. However, part of the PUC’s mission is to balance the needs of consumers and utilities while at the same time working to “ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest…and further economic development.”

Commissioner Witmer also probed why the company seems unwilling to explore options such as converting the operations to natural gas or selling the facilities to other interested parties who would be willing to make the necessary environmental upgrades.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility.  “Like” PAPowerSwitch on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.

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Contact:Press Secretary

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Press Office
P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
(717) 787-5722 FAX (717) 787-4193

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