AKRON, Ohio, March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp.'s (NYSE: FE) Ohio utilities today announced that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved, with certain modifications, Powering Ohio's Progress, their proposed Electric Security Plan (ESP). The approved plan is the result of a comprehensive settlement reflecting the diverse interests and concerns of 17 signatories, including the PUCO Staff and parties that represent residential, low-income, commercial and industrial customers, as well as competitive energy suppliers, schools and organized labor.
The plan will establish electric service for customers of FirstEnergy's Ohio utilities – Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating and Toledo Edison – over an eight-year period from June 1, 2016 through May 31, 2024. It outlines a series of steps to help safeguard customers against rising energy prices in future years, preserve key power plants that serve Ohio customers, reinstate energy efficiency programs, evaluate smart grid technologies, and includes a goal to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 90 percent below 2005 levels by 2045. The Commission also added certain additional customer protections.
The plan outlines a new retail rate stability provision related to a proposed eight-year Purchased Power Agreement (PPA) with the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, the W.H. Sammis Plant in Stratton, Ohio, and a portion of the output of Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC) units in Gallipolis, Ohio, and Madison, Ind. This arrangement will keep a diverse set of fuel sources available to generate electricity, rather than risking more plant closures that put our region at risk of higher energy prices in the years ahead.
"Today's decision will help protect our customers against rising electric prices and volatility in the years ahead, while helping to preserve vital baseload power plants that serve Ohio customers and provide thousands of family-sustaining jobs in the state," said Charles E. Jones, FirstEnergy President and Chief Executive Officer. "The plan will also extend FirstEnergy's longstanding support for the customers and communities we are privileged to serve in Ohio, through a comprehensive settlement reached between our utilities and a broad array of stakeholders."
FirstEnergy's Ohio utilities expect to file new rates with the PUCO by May 2, following the completion of a competitive auction process to buy electric generation supply for their non-shopping customers. FirstEnergy expects that the vast majority of its Ohio utility customers will see lower total bills after these auctions. Over the eight-year term, the arrangement is projected to generate hundreds of millions in customer savings as retail power prices increase over time.
FirstEnergy's plan also establishes a goal to reduce companywide CO2 emissions by at least 90 percent below 2005 levels by 2045. This is among the most aggressive targets in the utility industry, representing a potential reduction of more than 80 million tons of CO2 emissions. A carbon reduction report will be filed by November 1, 2016 highlighting a strategy to promote fuel diversification and carbon reduction, recognizing that energy efficiency, renewable energy resources, and other advanced resources may be part of the strategy.
FirstEnergy also will contribute more than $102 million over the life of the plan to help low-income customers pay their electric bills, as well as provide energy efficiency and economic development funding for low-income customers and communities.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. These statements include declarations regarding management's intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms "anticipate," "potential," "expect," "forecast," "target," "will," "intend," "believe," "project," "estimate," "plan" and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following: the speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry, in general, and the retail sales market in particular; the ability to experience growth in the Regulated Distribution and Regulated Transmission segments and to successfully implement our sales strategy for the Competitive Energy Services segment; the accomplishment of our regulatory and operational goals in connection with our transmission investment plan, including but not limited to, the proposed transmission asset transfer to Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission, LLC, and the effectiveness of our strategy to reflect a more regulated business profile; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, assessment of the reliability of our transmission system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission investment opportunities; the impact of the regulatory process on the pending matters at the federal level and in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates and the Electric Security Plan IV in Ohio; the impact of the federal regulatory process on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)-regulated entities and transactions, in particular FERC regulation of wholesale energy and capacity markets, including PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) markets and FERC-jurisdictional wholesale transactions; FERC regulation of cost-of-service rates, including FERC Opinion No. 531's revised Return on Equity methodology for FERC-jurisdictional wholesale generation and transmission utility service; and FERC's compliance and enforcement activity, including compliance and enforcement activity related to North American Electric Reliability Corporation's mandatory reliability standards; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM; economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins such as a polar vortex or other significant weather events, and all associated regulatory events or actions; changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil prices, and their availability and impact on margins and asset valuations; the continued ability of our regulated utilities to recover their costs; costs being higher than anticipated and the success of our policies to control costs and to mitigate low energy, capacity and market prices; other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including, but not limited to, the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, coal combustion residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards programs, including our estimated costs of compliance, Clean Water Act (CWA) waste water effluent limitations for power plants, and CWA 316(b) water intake regulation; the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation, including New Source Review litigation, or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such initiatives or rulemakings could result in our decision to deactivate or idle certain generating units); the uncertainties associated with the deactivation of certain older regulated and competitive fossil units, including the impact on vendor commitments and as it relates to the reliability of the transmission grid, the timing thereof; the impact of other future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units and any capacity performance charges associated with unit unavailability; adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings, including, but not limited to, any such proceedings related to vendor commitments; the impact of labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or not fully hedged; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, the ability to continue to reduce costs and to successfully execute our financial plans designed to improve our credit metrics and strengthen our balance sheet through, among other actions, our cash flow improvement plan and other proposed capital raising initiatives; our ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and/or our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated; the impact of changes to material accounting policies; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us and our subsidiaries; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and/or our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, letters of credit and other financial guarantees; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and/or our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties with which we do business, including fuel suppliers; the impact of any changes in tax laws or regulations or adverse tax audit results or rulings; issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our information technology system that may compromise our generation, transmission and/or distribution services and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information regarding our business, employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers, business partners and other individuals in our data centers and on our networks; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and other similar factors. The foregoing review of factors also should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy's business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.