AKRON, Ohio and COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- FirstEnergy Corp.'s (NYSE: FE) Ohio utilities – Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison – will provide $7.5 million over three years to support economic development and job retention projects under an agreement reached with The Ohio Manufacturers' Association (OMA). The agreement, outlined in a memorandum of understanding, is related to the companies' commitment to support economic development and jobs as part of their Electric Security Plan (ESP).
Under the agreement, the companies will provide $2.5 million over three years to each of three Ohio port authorities to support projects designated by the OMA. The port authorities – Cleveland-Cuyahoga County, Toledo-Lucas County and Summit County – will use the funds for low-interest loans to manufacturing companies for qualifying projects.
"By leveraging our resources with those of the OMA and the port authorities, we believe we can make a real impact on the regional economy by helping existing businesses expand and by attracting new businesses and jobs to our communities," said FirstEnergy President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Alexander.
To be eligible for loans, the manufacturers must be customers of one of FirstEnergy's Ohio utility companies and members of the OMA. In addition, the funded projects must support new economic development and job retention, involve at least $1 million in capital investments, represent new electrical load of at least 100 kilowatts, and meet the established guidelines for the port authorities' existing bond fund financing programs. Applications for funding should be submitted to the OMA.
"By providing more opportunities to finance projects that build Ohio's manufacturing base, this program will help support Ohio's economic revival and create much-needed jobs in our sector," said Eric L. Burkland, president of the OMA. "This new funding, when added to existing port authority resources, has the potential to support more than $37 million in loans to OMA members over a three-year period."
Under the companies' ESP, which was approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in March 2009, customer base distribution prices were frozen through 2011 and generation prices were established by a competitive bidding process.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Its subsidiaries and affiliates are involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, as well as energy management and other energy-related services. Its seven electric utility operating companies comprise the nation's fifth largest investor-owned electric system, based on 4.5 million customers served, within a 36,100-square-mile area of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey; and its generation subsidiaries control more than 14,000 megawatts of capacity.
The OMA is the voice of Ohio's manufacturers, leading the way on reform of workers' compensation, energy, taxes, health care, environmental regulations and other issues that impact manufacturing. The OMA is a non-profit organization that was founded 100 years ago, in 1910; today it has 1600 members. The OMA's mission is to protect and grow Ohio manufacturing.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.; The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association