Monday, May 4, 2015

Ohio, utility deregulation and a coal-fired power plant along the Ohio River

There seem to be a gazillion things going on with the electric utility industry in Ohio as that state enforces its policy of deregulation. For the most part, that has meant separation of generating and transmission assets, and it has meant companies have shifted ownership of coal-burning power plants from subsidiaries based Ohio to those in other states, such as West Virginia.

Now in Ohio FirstEnergy wants to take a step back from deregulation. It says it needs generating assets to protect its customers from price and supply volatility that would result from having to buy power on the open market. The question is whether consumers and companies that buy electricity from FirstEnergy's three operating companies in Ohio would benefit from this.

For a pretty good overview of the situation, check out this story from the Akron Beacon-Journal.

A parting thought: A lot of people like to complain or gloat about how newspapers are becoming increasing irrelevant to their lives, especially as papers cut back their staffs and move toward more TV-like stories as they must rely on younger and less expensive talent. But if we didn't have full-time reporters, who would bring us stories like this?