DP&L considering closing two power plants

Dayton Power & Light Inc. is considering closing two coal-fired power-generating stations near the Ohio River, company officials said.

“As part of DP&L’s electric security plan (ESP) filing at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the company is involved in ongoing discussions to find sustainable solutions to market-driven financial challenges,” DP&L spokeswoman Mary Ann Kabel said in an email Thursday.

“DP&L’s goal has always been to continue our long history of providing safe, reliable and sustainable energy solutions and service to our customers, communities and to the state of Ohio,” she wrote. “In some of these discussions, various parties to the ESP case have raised the subject of the closure of Killen and Stuart Stations. At this time, no decision has been reached.”

Kabel did not say when a decision may be made.

“DP&L regularly evaluates the economic performance of its generating assets and DP&L’s ESP filing proposes continued operation of its generating plants,” Kabel also said. “The ESP settlement discussions are confidential and we cannot go into further specifics on any party’s proposals.”

Both facilities are older, coal-fired stations operating at a time when coal-fired plants are seen as more costly to run. Coal in recent years has been more expensive than natural gas, thanks to hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — techniques and other factors.

The J.M. Stuart station, in Aberdeen, and the Killen station, in nearby Manchester, are on the Ohio River in Adams County in Southern Ohio.

The Stuart station has about 380 employees while the Killen station has about 110, according to DP&L.

The Killen station is co-owned, with DP&L having a 67 percent stake in the facility. The company has a 35 percent stake in the Stuart facility.

DP&L co-owns with other utilities five plants that are coal-fired. About two-third of its power generation is coal-fired and a third is natural gas-generated, DP&L President and Chief Executive Tom Raga told the Dayton Daily News earlier this year.

DP&L has an electric security plan or “ESP” before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), in a bid to make sure its rates are high enough to keep the company financially healthy.

This week, the Dayton Daily News reported that DP&L representatives are lobbying for proposed legislative language that would amend existing state law, letting the PUCO raise electric rates if a utility’s financial integrity is at stake.

Last month, DP&L applied to the PUCO for a new rider — or additional charge — to customers’ bills, citing “significant threats to its financial integrity.”

In July, Fitch Ratings revised its outlook for DP&L to “negative” from “stable.” The revision followed the Ohio Supreme Court’s rejection in June of DP&L’s “service stability rider” — a ruling which Fitch said at the time “could have material negative credit impact” on the company.

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