State Sen. Hughes urges commission to intervene in Pirkey Power Plant closure
Republican lawmaker testifies before Public Utility Commission
AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas lawmaker is fighting to keep a Harrison County power plant from closing.
On Thursday, Republican State Sen. Bryan Hughes of Mineola testified before the Public Utility Commission of Texas in Austin and urged them to intervene in the planned closure of the Pirkey Power Plant. In 2020, AEP SWEPCO announced the plant would close in 2023.
“In making these difficult decisions, we have worked to balance the remaining life and economic viability of each of our coal-fueled generating units with other options for delivering power, including renewable energy and natural gas, in a resource mix that benefits our customers and the environment,” said SWEPCO President and Chief Operating Officer Malcolm Smoak in a 2020 statement.
We attempted to reach AEP SWEPCO for comment on Friday but haven’t heard back. Hughes said his request is urgent with the possibility of the closure starting as early as next month.
“We need more reliable power, more dispatchable power, not less. So, that’s why we went to the Public Utility Commission. This brings reliable power and also good jobs, both of which are important.”
As of 2020, the Pirkey Power Plant employed just over 100 people. Hughes said the pending closure is currently under review by the PUC, which regulates power companies in Texas.
Pirkey Power Plant in Harrison County slated for shutdown in 2023
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