Since then, the PSC has received more than 1,500 public comments on the transaction. Chairman Michael Albert said at the hearing Wednesday that about 1,100 were opposed to the transaction, and 500 were in favor of it.
"This is not an easy decision obviously," he said. "There are strong held beliefs on both sides. We have encouraged both sides to discuss settlement ... obviously they haven't been able to reach it."
Supporters of the deal include Local 304 of the Utility Workers Union of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' District 4, the West Virginia Coal Association, the United Mine Workers of America and Pennsylvania-based CONSOL Energy.
The Harrison Power Station employs more than 200 workers and supports the operation of CONSOL's Robinson Run mine, where a belt feeds coal directly from the mine to the plant. That mine employs about 400 people.
Nearly two-dozen people are scheduled to give testimony to the PSC over the next three days - a timeline Albert called "optimistic." A decision may not come until June.
The FirstEnergy case is one of two such proposals the PSC is weighing.
Ohio-based American Electric Power wants to transfer its John Amos plant near St. Albans and its Mitchell facility near Moundsville to Appalachian Power, a Charleston-based subsidiary with 1 million customers in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.
A hearing on that case is set for mid-July.