The House passed a bill Tuesday that would exempt the FirstEnergy Pleasants Power Station from the business and occupation tax.
Gov. Jim Justice added the bill along with other measures in a fifth amended special session call. The bill was read a first time Monday and referred to the House Finance Committee, which advanced the bill that evening.
The House took up House Bill 207 for immediate consideration and suspended the constitutional rules requiring that the bill be read on three separate days.
The bill would exempt merchant power plants from the business and occupation tax. It defines a merchant power plant as “electricity generating plant in this state that is not subject to regulation of its rates by the West Virginia Public Service Commission, sells electricity it generates only on the wholesale market, does not sell electricity pursuant to one or more long-term sales contracts, and does not sell electricity to retail consumers.”
The exemption originally was set to go into effect July 1, 2020. However, the House adopted an amendment that would move up the effective date to Jan. 1, 2020.
The FirstEnergy Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island is classified as a merchant power plant. The governor said in a press release he wanted the bill to keep the power plant from closing.
The plant originally was scheduled for closure in January. However, as part of a bankruptcy court settlement, the plant was set to remain open through 2022. FirstEnergy Solutions CEO John Judge told Finance Committee members Monday the bill was needed to create a level playing field.
The House also took up for immediate consideration and passed House Bill 210. This bill would dedicate $200,000 to the State Auditor’s general admission fund to cover costs of transparency initiatives in the previously-passed education bill.
The House reconvened at 6 p.m. and adjourned Sine Die.