AMP / Coal / Energy / Prairie State Coal Plant

Cities on hook for power plant’s costs

GALION — “Electricity customers in Galion are part-owners of a $5 billion power plant that is behind schedule and might lead to years of high utility bills.

The city of about 11,000, about 60 miles north of Columbus, is one of many in Ohio whose city-owned electric companies have chosen to invest in the Prairie State Energy Campus, a coal-fired power plant being built in southwestern Illinois.

…Electricity from Prairie State will cost $57 per megawatt-hour this year and average about $65 for the life of the plant, AMP has said. This covers almost all aspects of power production and the debt to build the plant. It does not include delivery costs.

Today, an Ohio buyer can get electricity on the wholesale market for less than $35 per megawatt-hour, plus a capacity charge of less than $10 for a total of less than $45.

…Environmental groups, such as Ohio Citizen Action, say AMP members have signed up for overpriced, dirty power.

‘You’ve got the market shifting out from underneath them,’ said Sandy Buchanan, the group’s executive director. ‘At the same time, you’ve got communities locked into long-term financial deals that say they have to repay no matter what. That’s the nightmare scenario.'”

— Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch

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