New Regulations Force Changes At Power Plants

New EPA regulations for coal-fired power plants are causing concern for power companies. The new rules were published this week. Right now, companies are sorting through the 1,200 page document. Officials are working to see what changes have to be made to plants to comply with the regulations.

The new rules are forcing many plants to shut down. American Electric Power is closing one fifth of their coal-fueled fleet, for a total of 6,000 Megawatts of generation. Its just too expensive to upgrade the plants. The AEP plant in Oklaunion, TX already has some advanced emissions control equipment installed, so it will be upgraded.

The problem lawyers and engineers have is sorting through the rule "Its about 1,200 pages long, so our folks are reading through it then they will have to determine what compliance with those rules will mean for each individual coal-fired plant," said Melissa McHenry, AEP Spokeswoman.

McHenry said as plants upgrade to follow the rules, they will have to shut down for installation of new equipment. That will end up meaning less power to go around. The upgrades won't be cheap, electricity customers will foot the bill.

Overall, AEP supports the regulation, they just would have liked a better plan for implementing the pollution control. "We think the EPA is underestimating the cost and the reliability challenges that will be created by complying with this rule and that shorter time frame means that it will be more costly for electricity customers to get the same environmental benefits," said McHenry.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6