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Coal Supplier Sues Appalachian Power In Ongoing Legal Action

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Curtis Tate
/
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
The West Virginia Public Service Commission headquarters in Charleston.

Appalachian Power and one of its largest coal suppliers are in an ongoing legal battle over coal.

Originally, Appalachian Power sued American Consolidated Natural Resources (ACNR), alleging failure to deliver coal under contract to three West Virginia power plants in 2021 and 2022. It sought $45 million in damages.

ACNR filed a counterclaim last week in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

It alleges breach of contract by Appalachian Power and seeks at least $100,000 in damages.

Appalachian Power and ACNR are in court in New York and Ohio over the coal supply issue. The lawsuits were revealed in testimony at the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

The Mitchell, Mountaineer and John Amos plants in West Virginia were idle for long periods of time late last year because they did not have enough coal on hand to operate.

Appalachian Power is seeking PSC approval to recover $297 million in costs from ratepayers. Regulated utilities are permitted to seek reimbursement for their fuel costs from ratepayers.

The PSC has already granted about $125 million in cost recovery this year to Appalachian Power. Residents, industrial customers and local governments have uniformly opposed the latest request. PSC approval would mean ratepayers have to bear another monthly increase.

The ACNR countersuit, filed on Nov. 3, appears to imply West Virginia Public Broadcasting had inside knowledge of Appalachian Power’s New York lawsuit, filed on Sept. 30.

Instead, the existence of the lawsuits was revealed publicly in testimony to the PSC. West Virginia Public Broadcasting received no other information from any other party.

Appalachian Power is an underwriter of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Energy & Environment Reporter, ctate@wvpublic.org, 202-679-8470, @tatecurtis

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