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FirstEnergy: 2 western Pa. coal plants to stop producing electricity this week

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Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. coal-fired power plants in western Pennsylvania will stop producing electricity by Wednesday under the firm's previously announced plans for its Hatfield's Ferry and Mitchell facilities, spokeswoman Stephanie Thornton said this morning.

Montgomery County-based regional grid operator PJM Interconnection reviewed the move and determined FirstEnergy can retire the generation units without detriment to reliability because transmission upgrades and temporary operating measures can handle the impacts.

Market prices and environmental regulations factored into the decision by FirstEnergy, parent of distribution utility Metropolitan Edison Co. serving parts of the midstate, the firm said.

As of last week, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission continued to voice concern about closing the plants.

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