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MONONGAHELA POWER: RED HERRING FOR POTOMAC EDISON

 MONONGAHELA POWER: RED HERRING FOR POTOMAC EDISON
 CHARLESTON, W.Va., Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael S. Francis, chief


executive officer of the MidAtlantic Energy Group, a West Virginia-based energy developer, said today that the Allegheny Power System (APS), the New York holding company of West Penn Power, Monongahela Power and Potomac Edison, is attempting to divert public attention away from Potomac Edison's undisputed need for energy by stressing that Monongahela Power (Mon Power) does not need to purchase additional electrical capacity to meet present consumer demand.
 "What we are seeing from APS is a classic diversionary tactic," Francis said. "Each time the project group states its case regarding Potomac Edison's need for electric power, APS trots out a Mon Power spokesman to lament that Mon Power has no need for additional electrical capacity. We are not claiming Mon Power needs or should buy electricity from the MidAtlantic/Destec project," Francis said. "We have, however, said, and continue to stress, that Potomac Edison, by its own admission through filings with the West Virginia Public Service Commission, will require a significant amount of electric power now and throughout the coming decade."
 The MidAtlantic president said that from his perspective the relevant facts can be stated simply: "One, through its recent press releases and television interviews, the president of Monongahela Power and his spokesman have undertaken to mislead and frighten their rate payers by challenging the project, claiming enormous rate increases; two, the project group intends to sell the electrical output of the Marshall County project to Potomac Edison, not to Monongahela Power; three, the group's objective is to establish the purchase price for power at or below the utilities 'avoided cost'; four, the avoided cost issue will be determined by the Public Service Commission; five, the adoption of the MidAtlantic/Destec plan will bring scores of millions of dollars of economic benefits to West Virginians together with millions of dollars in state and local taxes; six, this is the right time, West Virginia is unquestionably the right place and energy production is the right application for coal gasification technology." Francis said that he finds it curious that APS chooses to dismiss this essential technology as "developing," since it has been employed in other applications for decades.
 Francis concluded by saying that the utility's effort to characterize MidAtlantic as "homegrown" and as a "liar" amounts to rhetoric that is unworthy of a major American company. "This does nothing to assist the public in its effort to get to the heart of the real issues," Francis said, "and is really terribly unfortunate."
 Francis again invited all involved parties to meet with the officers of MidAtlantic and Destec in the hope that meaningful and positive discussions might be undertaken to resolve the conflict now existing between the parties.
 The Public Service Commission will meet next week to consider the MidAtlantic/Destec plan, as well as to ascertain the real capacity needs of the two West Virginia-based APS utilities.
 -0- 8/5/92 R
 /CONTACT: Dick Northup of Charles Ryan Associates, 304-342-0161, for the MidAtlantic Energy Group/ CO: MidAtlantic Energy Group; Monongahela Power; Potomac Edison ST: West Virginia IN: UTI SU:


JS-MK -- PG002 -- 7102 08/05/92 12:26 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 5, 1992
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