AEP set to close 6 coal-fired power plants in May

AEP prepares to close 6 coal-fired power plants in 4 states (Image: Tanners Creek Plant in Indiana)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) is preparing to close six coal-fired power plants in four states on May 31 to comply with stricter federal emissions standards.

Columbus, Ohio-based AEP recently gave notices of the closures to the states and to workers at the Philip Sporn, Kammer and Kanawha Valley plants in West Virginia, the Muskingum River Plant in Ohio, the Tanners Creek Plant in Indiana and the Glen Lyn Plant in Virginia. The notices are required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

More than 250 workers will be affected by the plant shutdowns, which were announced by AEP in 2011.

Carmen Prati-Miller, an AEP spokeswoman, said the company plans to retire more than 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation in seven states by the beginning of 2016.

"Since the time we announced the retirements four years ago, we've worked very hard to try to place as many impacted employees as possible in other positions at the company," AEP spokeswoman Tammy Ridout told media outlets. "Many have other jobs within the company that we're holding for them until the plant closes. The rest will be offered a severance package. Almost all of them are retirement eligible."

All three West Virginia plants were built in the 1950s and are among the oldest in AEP's power generation fleet.

Ron Feathers, a member of the Washington County Commission in Ohio, said the Muskingum River Plant site has good rail and road access, along with water from the Muskingum River.

"I just hope AEP will work with state and local officials to see if that property can be reused," Feathers told The Parkersburg News and Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1CqtRRH).

Ridout said the company will work with community leaders and local development agencies to determine whether all or part of the sites can be redeveloped.

She said AEP does not have a timetable to dismantle the plants, which will be decommissioned in compliance with all regulatory requirements.

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