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.

Hennes Paynter Communications

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Genie of Fairview Door Company


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

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

New book says Willoughby Coal is haunted...and that's good for business
Would love to see a series of books that would just thrill me. I cannot wait to visit some of the locations. And revisit some of the locations I have already vi...

Cleveland Indians to continue with 'dynamic pricing'
pricing is too high for a family as well as people like me who are on a fixed income. Bleacher seats are cheaper but concessions are rediculous.

Kasich talks about faith, drugs and education -- but never FitzGerald
The idea that you can learn more by talking to a 90 year old person than from a history book is just another example of how the GOP hates education and knowledg...

Third-grade charter school students fail state testing
A partisan anti-charter group came out with analysis that ODE says is based on incorrect data. So why is this a story? It doesn't seem to rise to WKSU's typic...

Still no money for Fair Finance victims
The only persons benefiting from this bankruptcy is quite obvious - the attorneys.. I would let the Durham and other thieves out of prison in a job with all th...

Copyright © 2014 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