Reuters reported that today U.S. power company FirstEnergy Corp (FE.N) urged U.S. Dept. of Energy Secretary Rick Perry to employ rarely-used Section 202(c) emergency powers to order PJM Interconnection to negotiate a contract compensating owners of coal and nuclear plants for benefits such as reliability and jobs those units provide. Critics saw this as a move to protect unprofitable power plants.
The story noted that PJM rejected the need for an emergency order to help FirstEnergy, and observed that coal and nuclear power plant operators have struggled with competition from low natural gas prices that have spurred utilities to retire dirtier coal plants.
A 2:25 p.m. ET version of the piece included segments of AEE's reaction (this was replaced by API, Sierra Club quotes in a 5:20 p.m. update):
Advanced Energy Economy, a trade group, called the move a “blatant appeal” by FirstEnergy for a corporate bailout.
“This outrageous attempt to evade established market procedures is unprecedented,” said Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president of policy for AEE.
See the earlier Reuters story here (w/AEE perspective), the updated Reuters piece here, a related RTO Insider "Update: FES Seeks Bankruptcy, DOE Emergency Order" story here, and AEE's complete statement here.