CEO: FirstEnergy Plans Exit from Competitive Electricity Business within 18 Months

FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones talked about getting the Akron-based, investor-owned utility out of the competitive electricity business in comments on November 7 to analysts at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual financial conference, according to a report in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

Jones said that FirstEnergy planned on becoming a fully regulated company during the next 18 months. Some coal and nuclear generating units will be sold off  or closed within the next two years, if Ohio and Pennsylvania do not resume regulating or setting prices for them, or create a regulation-like structure.

The coal plants in Pennsylvania are owned by the unregulated retail arms of the utility, FirstEnergy Solutions and Allegheny Energy Supply. Jones said the unregulated subsidiaries can’t afford to operate the plants at current power prices, and FirstEnergy won’t let the subsidiaries’ problems affect the parent company, the Plain Dealer stated.

“Do I think that [re-regulation] is going to happen? No. So beyond that, I think we’ve got to let it play out,” Jones said. “I think the outcome is that some units get sold. I think some … get shut down.”

Jones said FirstEnergy isn’t waiting on officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania to make a decision. Instead, the utility plans to talk with state lawmakers and regulators immediately.

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