FirstEnergy CEO Jones Reviews Company's Strategies

Company announces preliminary results from 2015 Annual Meeting

May 19, 2015, 11:05 ET from FirstEnergy Corp.

AKRON, Ohio, May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp (NYSE: FE) President and Chief Executive Officer Charles E. Jones told shareholders today that the company is focused on meeting the energy needs of its customers.

"Our industry continues to change at a rapid pace," Jones said.  "But our mission remains the same – producing and delivering safe, reliable, clean and affordable electricity to the customers we are privileged to serve.  Those customers count on our bring greater comfort, convenience, safety and productivity to their everyday lives." 

Jones discussed the company's focus on regulated growth, including the efforts to ensure reliable service to distribution customers, and the company's Energizing the Future transmission investment program.

"We are building a stronger, more resilient energy system, reinforcing critical components, implementing new technologies that support predictive maintenance and make our system more secure – and that means more reliable service for customers, at a cost they can afford," he said.

"Customers expect their energy to come from clean sources – and we have a good story to tell here as well," Jones said.  "Nearly 100 percent of the power we produce this year is expected to come from low- or non-emitting sources." 

Jones added that this year the company expects to achieve a 25 percent reduction below 2005 levels of carbon dioxide emissions.  He noted that FirstEnergy also offers more than 1,900 megawatts of renewable resources, and is one of the largest providers of wind energy east of the Mississippi River. 

Jones said customers also benefit from the company's strong focus on economic development and community support. 

"Whether we are partnering with local and regional economic development agencies to bring new jobs and economic growth to our five-state region, or providing charities and community-based organizations with grants and volunteer support, FirstEnergy is doing its part to help improve our region's quality of life.  And that's a profound investment in our communities and customers," he said.

A transcript of Jones' prepared remarks can be found here.

FirstEnergy also announced preliminary voting results from its 2015 Annual Meeting, which was held earlier today.   Each of the 13 nominees to the company's Board of Directors received at least 96 percent of the shares voted for their election.  A company proposal to ratify PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company's independent registered public accounting firm and an advisory vote on named executive officer compensation received affirmative votes of 98 and 85 percent of votes cast, respectively.  The company's incentive compensation plan received an affirmative shareholder vote of 94 percent.   

Non-binding shareholder proposals requesting a report on lobbying expenses and a report on carbon dioxide goals each received an affirmative votes cast of 19 percent.  Non-binding shareholder proposals requesting a simple majority vote and proxy access received an affirmative votes cast of 69 and 71 percent, respectively. All preliminary voting results are subject to final certification.

The following directors were elected to one-year terms:

  • Paul T. Addison, retired managing director of Salomon Smith Barney (Citigroup)
  • Michael J. Anderson, chairman and chief executive officer of The Andersons, Inc.
  • William T. Cottle, retired chairman, president and chief executive officer of STP Nuclear Operating Company
  • Robert B. Heisler, Jr., retired dean of the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management of Kent State University and retired chairman of KeyBank N.A.
  • Julia L. Johnson, president of NetCommunications, LLC
  • Charles E. Jones, president and chief executive officer, FirstEnergy Corp.
  • Ted J. Kleisner, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company
  • Donald T. Misheff, retired managing partner of the Northeast Ohio offices of Ernst & Young LLP
  • Ernest J. Novak, Jr., retired managing partner of the Cleveland office of Ernst & Young LLP
  • Christopher D. Pappas, president, chief executive officer and director of Trinseo
  • Luis A. Reyes, retired regional administrator of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • George M. Smart, non-executive chairman of the FirstEnergy Board of Directors and retired president of Sonoco-Phoenix, Inc., and
  • Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, chief executive officer of Dream Catcher Educational Consulting and retired president and president emeritus of Cuyahoga Community College

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.  Its generation subsidiaries control nearly 17,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro and other renewables.  Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp

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" 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 revised sales strategy for the Competitive Energy Services segment; the accomplishment of our regulatory and operational goals in connection with our transmission investment plan, pending transmission rate case and the effectiveness of our repositioning 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, and their availability and impact on retail margins; 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, proposed greenhouse gases emission and water discharge regulations and the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's coal combustion residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, including our estimated costs of compliance, and Clean Water Act 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 the timing thereof as they relate to the reliability of the transmission grid; the impact of other future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units; 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 previously-implemented dividend reduction, our cash flow initiative project and our 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 announced 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 on our electronic data centers that could compromise the information stored on our networks, including proprietary information and customer data; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and other similar factors.  Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy Corp.'s common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy Corp.'s Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating.  The foregoing review of factors 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.  

SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.