News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Hennes Paynter Communications


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business


FirstEnergy hurt by Sandy but sunny days may be ahead
Utility says shale oil and gas could provide an industrial boost
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
FirstEnergy has 10 electric companies
Courtesy of FirstEnergy
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Akron-based FirstEnergy lost money last year. The parent company of Ohio Edison and the Illuminating Company owns electric companies from Toledo to the New Jersey shore. That left it exposed to losses from Hurricane Sandy. But as WKSU's Mark Urycki reports, it also puts the utility in a good position for growth. 
FirstEnergy see a boon in manufacturing

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:35)


Revenues for 2012 were down 10 percent, and a $99 million profit in 2011 turned into a $148 million loss last year.

One big factor was a $600 million payment toward its employee pension fund. And in a conference call with reporters and analysts, Executive Vice President Leila Vespoli noted FirstEnergy incurred another $630 million in extra costs for Hurricane Sandy, “including $345 million for capital expenditures incurred while restoring service, as well as $256 million that we propose to recover over a six-year period.”

All of FirstEnergy’s subsidiaries suffered from that storm, but its Jersey Central Power and Light utility took the brunt of it.  Some 10,000 FirstEnergy employees worked on storm restoration in October and November.

Old coal, new nuclear
Before then, the company’s focus was on deactivating seven old coal-fired power plants last year.  It plans to shut down a couple more in 2015. FirstEnergy CEO Tony Alexander says the company has lowered its carbon footprint beyond what anyone expected.

“We’ve done a lot, investing in the nuclear fleet to produce more out of that side of the house and improved significantly and reduced significantly the amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) that our fleet produces.”

The company is under pressure from stricter environmental rules – especially on the release of mercury and other toxins.

“We all know that there’s no technology today that’s commercially available to address this issue in a major coal-fired facility. So there has to be a transition period.”

Other alternatives
FirstEnergy is selling off its hydro-powered electric generators. A sale planned for 2015 will be moved up to this year so the company can reduce debt. It plans to refinance long-term debt at a time when interest rates are historically low.

Some cold weather helped FirstEnergy boost residential sales in the fourth quarter and for the year residential sales were up 5 percent, back to pre-recession levels.  But company Chief Financial Officer Jim Pierson says that business with its other customers were stagnant. Commercial deliveries were largely flat while industrial deliveries were down 3 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2011.

Manufacturing reborn
While FirstEnergy may have suffered from exposure to Hurricane Sandy, Alexander says it’s operating area is a pretty enviable spot otherwise. 

“I think this area is poised to grow at rates that are potentially far greater than what we’ve seen in the past. The area of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio basically sits under our service territory. There’s a lot of expectation in terms of a manufacturing renaissance taking advantage of the location for energy.”

And Alexander says if industry picks up, then commercial and residential demands will follow. He says the company has already seen one local impact. FirstEnergy built its new Black River substation in Lorain to support an expansion there by Republic Steel, so that it can manufacture parts for the gas industry.  

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University