FirstEnergy Reports First Quarter Earnings

Apr 17, 2001, 01:00 ET from FirstEnergy Corp.

    April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:   FE) today reported that
 net income for the first quarter of 2001 was $106.2 million, or 49 cents per
 share of common stock, compared with $140.9 million, or 63 cents per share for
 the first quarter of 2000 -- before the cumulative effect of an accounting
 change.  After the accounting change, net income was $97.7 million, or
 45 cents per share of common stock.  The change resulted from the adoption of
 a new accounting standard for derivative transactions, primarily the fair
 value of derivatives within commodity and power contracts.
     The Akron, Ohio-headquartered company said results for the first quarter
 are on track with annual earnings projections.  Those projections reflect
 higher amortization of transition costs during the first quarter as a result
 of the company's rate plan under Ohio's new electric utility deregulation law.
 For the year, total transition cost amortization is expected to be lower than
 last year's accelerated cost amortization under the former regulatory rate
 plans for the company's operating subsidiaries.
     Consolidated generation kilowatt-hour sales increased 13.1 percent for the
 quarter as a result of higher power sales to wholesale and regulated retail
 customers, up 127.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.  Unregulated retail
 generation kilowatt-hour sales were down 2.0 percent.  Regulated distribution
 deliveries to residential customers rose 8.1 percent and industrial sales
 gained 3.6 percent, while commercial sales were off 1.3 percent.  The increase
 in residential sales was mainly due to higher heating loads.
     Total revenues for the first quarter were $2.0 billion, compared with
 $1.6 billion for the year-earlier quarter.
     FirstEnergy bought back 550,000 shares of common stock during the quarter
 under its share repurchase program.  So far, 13.1 million shares have been
 acquired under a program to buy back up to 15 million shares during a three-
 year period ending this year.  For the quarter, average common shares
 outstanding totaled 218.1 million, compared with 224.9 million average shares
 outstanding at the end of the first quarter of 2000.
     During the first quarter, FirstEnergy made significant progress in
 obtaining regulatory approvals of its proposed merger with Morristown, New
 Jersey-based GPU, Inc.  The merger was approved by the Federal Energy
 Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the New
 York State Public Service Commission.  Public hearings conducted by the
 Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission have been completed and the Commission
 is expected to rule on the merger in late May.  Public hearings are scheduled
 to begin in April by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, which is
 expected to rule during the second quarter. The U.S. Securities and Exchange
 Commission is expected to rule on the merger following the Board's decision.
     FirstEnergy announced on August 8, 2000, that it had entered into a $4.5
 billion merger agreement with GPU, which was overwhelmingly approved by
 shareholders from both companies last November 21.  The merger is expected to
 be immediately accretive to cash flow and earnings and produce other benefits,
 including cost savings of at least $150 million annually from the combination
 of operations.  Upon completion, the merger would make FirstEnergy the fourth
 largest investor-owned electric system in the nation, based on serving
 4.3 million customers within 37,000 square miles of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New
 Jersey.
     On January 24, the Alliance Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), of
 which FirstEnergy is a member, received approval from FERC on all major
 issues, including the four RTO characteristics: independence; scope and
 configuration; operational authority; and short-term reliability.
     In February, the Alliance RTO reached a settlement with the Midwest
 Independent System Operator that will permit -- once approved by FERC --
 Illinois Power, Commonwealth Edison, and Ameren Corporation to join the
 Alliance RTO.  With these additions, the Alliance will have 10 member
 companies which serve 41 million customers within 189,000 square miles in
 11 states, and own 57,000 miles of transmission lines. FERC approval of the
 agreement is expected in May 2001.  The goal of the Alliance is to be
 operational by December 2001.
     In the power production area of FirstEnergy's operations, the Perry
 Nuclear Power Plant -- one of the top-performing nuclear plants in the world
 in 2000 -- began its regularly scheduled refueling outage in March.  The
 outage included replacing the turbine rotor, which was the final step in
 increasing the plant's generating output by 70 megawatts to 1,320 megawatts.
 The plant returned to service on March 21, setting a new plant refueling
 outage record of 34 days.  Also, Units 1 and 2 at the Beaver Valley Power
 Station are each scheduled for an 11-megawatt uprate later this year,
 increasing capacity by 22 megawatts.  In 2003, Beaver Valley Unit 1 capacity
 will be increased by 34 megawatts and Unit 2's output will be increased by 62
 megawatts.  FirstEnergy also recently brought on line 935 megawatts of peaking
 generation and plans to install another 340 megawatts that will be available
 in 2002.
     The company's subsidiary, FirstEnergy Services Corp., signed a Master
 Energy Services and Supply Agreement with PinnacleHealth System, a community-
 based health care system headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Under the
 long-term agreement, FirstEnergy Services will provide energy management
 services and manage procurement of electricity and natural gas for four
 PinnacleHealth hospitals located in the Harrisburg area.  FirstEnergy Services
 also signed a Master Energy Services and Supply Agreement with The University
 of Akron to provide energy management services and electricity, natural gas
 and steam to the University's main campus in Akron and its regional Wayne
 College campus in Orrville, Ohio.
     In a related development, FirstEnergy Services completed a reorganization
 of its Sales, Marketing & Energy Services Group (SMES) during the quarter. The
 study determined that much of SMES's sales efforts in the unregulated
 commercial and industrial markets have been focused on a small number of
 people who control the buying decisions for a large number of accounts.  As a
 result, the sales force and support staff could be reduced by approximately
 100 positions from the current level of 336.  These changes will be completed
 by the end of April.
     FirstEnergy is a diversified energy services holding company.  Its various
 subsidiaries own more than $18 billion in assets and produce approximately
 $7 billion in annual revenues.  FirstEnergy's electric utility operating
 companies -- Ohio Edison Company, Pennsylvania Power Company, The Illuminating
 Company and Toledo Edison Company -- comprise the nation's tenth largest
 electric system, serving 2.2 million electric customers in Ohio and
 Pennsylvania.
     FirstEnergy also is involved in the exploration and production of oil and
 natural gas, and the transmission and marketing of natural gas, including
 service to approximately 154,000 business and residential customers.  Its
 resources include interests in more than 7,900 oil and gas wells, proved
 reserves of 480 billion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas and oil, and
 4,800 miles of pipelines.
     FirstEnergy offers a wide array of energy-related products and services
 through its FirstEnergy Facilities Services Group, Inc., subsidiary, which
 includes 11 leading electrical and mechanical contracting companies
 headquartered in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Maryland,
 New York and Virginia.
     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
 typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms "anticipate,"
 "potential," "expect," "believe," "estimate," and similar words.  Actual
 results may differ materially due to the speed and nature of increased
 competition and deregulation in the electric utility industry; economic or
 weather conditions affecting future sales and margins; changes in markets for
 energy services; changing energy market prices; legislative and regulatory
 changes (including revised environmental requirements); availability and cost
 of capital; inability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits of
 strategic goals; and similar factors.
 
 

SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.
    April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:   FE) today reported that
 net income for the first quarter of 2001 was $106.2 million, or 49 cents per
 share of common stock, compared with $140.9 million, or 63 cents per share for
 the first quarter of 2000 -- before the cumulative effect of an accounting
 change.  After the accounting change, net income was $97.7 million, or
 45 cents per share of common stock.  The change resulted from the adoption of
 a new accounting standard for derivative transactions, primarily the fair
 value of derivatives within commodity and power contracts.
     The Akron, Ohio-headquartered company said results for the first quarter
 are on track with annual earnings projections.  Those projections reflect
 higher amortization of transition costs during the first quarter as a result
 of the company's rate plan under Ohio's new electric utility deregulation law.
 For the year, total transition cost amortization is expected to be lower than
 last year's accelerated cost amortization under the former regulatory rate
 plans for the company's operating subsidiaries.
     Consolidated generation kilowatt-hour sales increased 13.1 percent for the
 quarter as a result of higher power sales to wholesale and regulated retail
 customers, up 127.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.  Unregulated retail
 generation kilowatt-hour sales were down 2.0 percent.  Regulated distribution
 deliveries to residential customers rose 8.1 percent and industrial sales
 gained 3.6 percent, while commercial sales were off 1.3 percent.  The increase
 in residential sales was mainly due to higher heating loads.
     Total revenues for the first quarter were $2.0 billion, compared with
 $1.6 billion for the year-earlier quarter.
     FirstEnergy bought back 550,000 shares of common stock during the quarter
 under its share repurchase program.  So far, 13.1 million shares have been
 acquired under a program to buy back up to 15 million shares during a three-
 year period ending this year.  For the quarter, average common shares
 outstanding totaled 218.1 million, compared with 224.9 million average shares
 outstanding at the end of the first quarter of 2000.
     During the first quarter, FirstEnergy made significant progress in
 obtaining regulatory approvals of its proposed merger with Morristown, New
 Jersey-based GPU, Inc.  The merger was approved by the Federal Energy
 Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the New
 York State Public Service Commission.  Public hearings conducted by the
 Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission have been completed and the Commission
 is expected to rule on the merger in late May.  Public hearings are scheduled
 to begin in April by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, which is
 expected to rule during the second quarter. The U.S. Securities and Exchange
 Commission is expected to rule on the merger following the Board's decision.
     FirstEnergy announced on August 8, 2000, that it had entered into a $4.5
 billion merger agreement with GPU, which was overwhelmingly approved by
 shareholders from both companies last November 21.  The merger is expected to
 be immediately accretive to cash flow and earnings and produce other benefits,
 including cost savings of at least $150 million annually from the combination
 of operations.  Upon completion, the merger would make FirstEnergy the fourth
 largest investor-owned electric system in the nation, based on serving
 4.3 million customers within 37,000 square miles of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New
 Jersey.
     On January 24, the Alliance Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), of
 which FirstEnergy is a member, received approval from FERC on all major
 issues, including the four RTO characteristics: independence; scope and
 configuration; operational authority; and short-term reliability.
     In February, the Alliance RTO reached a settlement with the Midwest
 Independent System Operator that will permit -- once approved by FERC --
 Illinois Power, Commonwealth Edison, and Ameren Corporation to join the
 Alliance RTO.  With these additions, the Alliance will have 10 member
 companies which serve 41 million customers within 189,000 square miles in
 11 states, and own 57,000 miles of transmission lines. FERC approval of the
 agreement is expected in May 2001.  The goal of the Alliance is to be
 operational by December 2001.
     In the power production area of FirstEnergy's operations, the Perry
 Nuclear Power Plant -- one of the top-performing nuclear plants in the world
 in 2000 -- began its regularly scheduled refueling outage in March.  The
 outage included replacing the turbine rotor, which was the final step in
 increasing the plant's generating output by 70 megawatts to 1,320 megawatts.
 The plant returned to service on March 21, setting a new plant refueling
 outage record of 34 days.  Also, Units 1 and 2 at the Beaver Valley Power
 Station are each scheduled for an 11-megawatt uprate later this year,
 increasing capacity by 22 megawatts.  In 2003, Beaver Valley Unit 1 capacity
 will be increased by 34 megawatts and Unit 2's output will be increased by 62
 megawatts.  FirstEnergy also recently brought on line 935 megawatts of peaking
 generation and plans to install another 340 megawatts that will be available
 in 2002.
     The company's subsidiary, FirstEnergy Services Corp., signed a Master
 Energy Services and Supply Agreement with PinnacleHealth System, a community-
 based health care system headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Under the
 long-term agreement, FirstEnergy Services will provide energy management
 services and manage procurement of electricity and natural gas for four
 PinnacleHealth hospitals located in the Harrisburg area.  FirstEnergy Services
 also signed a Master Energy Services and Supply Agreement with The University
 of Akron to provide energy management services and electricity, natural gas
 and steam to the University's main campus in Akron and its regional Wayne
 College campus in Orrville, Ohio.
     In a related development, FirstEnergy Services completed a reorganization
 of its Sales, Marketing & Energy Services Group (SMES) during the quarter. The
 study determined that much of SMES's sales efforts in the unregulated
 commercial and industrial markets have been focused on a small number of
 people who control the buying decisions for a large number of accounts.  As a
 result, the sales force and support staff could be reduced by approximately
 100 positions from the current level of 336.  These changes will be completed
 by the end of April.
     FirstEnergy is a diversified energy services holding company.  Its various
 subsidiaries own more than $18 billion in assets and produce approximately
 $7 billion in annual revenues.  FirstEnergy's electric utility operating
 companies -- Ohio Edison Company, Pennsylvania Power Company, The Illuminating
 Company and Toledo Edison Company -- comprise the nation's tenth largest
 electric system, serving 2.2 million electric customers in Ohio and
 Pennsylvania.
     FirstEnergy also is involved in the exploration and production of oil and
 natural gas, and the transmission and marketing of natural gas, including
 service to approximately 154,000 business and residential customers.  Its
 resources include interests in more than 7,900 oil and gas wells, proved
 reserves of 480 billion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas and oil, and
 4,800 miles of pipelines.
     FirstEnergy offers a wide array of energy-related products and services
 through its FirstEnergy Facilities Services Group, Inc., subsidiary, which
 includes 11 leading electrical and mechanical contracting companies
 headquartered in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Maryland,
 New York and Virginia.
     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
 typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms "anticipate,"
 "potential," "expect," "believe," "estimate," and similar words.  Actual
 results may differ materially due to the speed and nature of increased
 competition and deregulation in the electric utility industry; economic or
 weather conditions affecting future sales and margins; changes in markets for
 energy services; changing energy market prices; legislative and regulatory
 changes (including revised environmental requirements); availability and cost
 of capital; inability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits of
 strategic goals; and similar factors.
 
 SOURCE  FirstEnergy Corp.