FirstEnergy CEO Says He’s Not Interested in Moving Away from Deregulation

first_imgFirstEnergy CEO Says He’s Not Interested in Moving Away from Deregulation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Bob Downing in the Akron Beacon Journal: Energy efficiency, renewable energy and retiring coal-burning plants will be key tools as FirstEnergy Corp. moves toward producing cleaner energy, said President and CEO Charles E. Jones.But coal remains a key part of the company’s plans, he said Tuesday in response to a question at the company’s 33-minute annual meeting in the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron.He also said in a media interview that FirstEnergy is unlikely to rely heavily on cleaner-burning natural gas and that the company has no interest in re-regulating Ohio’s utilities and moving away from deregulated utilities.The Akron-based energy company has pledged to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by at least 90 percent below 2005 levels by 2045.Such a reduction is “attainable … but it’s not a slam dunk,” Jones said.At present, one-third of the electricity produced by FirstEnergy for its 6 million customers in Ohio and five other states results in no carbon dioxide emissions. That includes three nuclear power plants, two hydro plants, seven wind facilities and two solar installations.The company cannot eliminate coal as a fuel source right now without hurting the power system’s reliability, Jones said.The company has been shutting down old, dirty power plants and is also relying on cleaner-burning scrubbed coal and super-efficient plants, he said.“It will take time and patience to get there,” he said of future closures of coal-burning plants.In April 2015, FirstEnergy shut down three old coal-fired power plants in Cuyahoga, Lake and Ashtabula counties, an action that required $1.2 billion in new transmission lines to move electricity into Northeast Ohio.FirstEnergy stockholders are firmly opposed to the financial risk-taking that would be involved if the utility switched from coal to natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales, he said.Natural gas prices fluctuate greatly and stockholders are strongly against taking on such financial risks, he said.FirstEnergy is proceeding to seek a rehearing before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on its Electric Security Plan to save its old uneconomical power plants, Jones said.FirstEnergy is seeking a change that provides price stability for customers without a Purchased Power Agreement or federal approval.A schedule for that new request that would create new delivery surcharges for customers has not been released, but a decision is likely months away.The company was pleased when the PUCO approved that initial plan last March that would have had customers subsidizing the Sammis coal-fired plant and Davis-Besse nuclear plant.The company initially said the arrangement would hike the average residential electric bill for its 1.9 million customers in Northeast Ohio from $96 to $99.25 a month. Later the company said the bills would drop because it is costing less to produce electricity.FirstEnergy said the deal also negated the need for $4.1 billion in new electric transmission lines that would have been paid by its Ohio customers.In April, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that the deal’s Purchased Power Agreement violated federal law, and that triggered the company’s new request on May 2 to the PUCO.Jones noted that subsidiary FirstEnergy Solutions will also be offering Sammis and Davis-Besse into this month’s PJM Interconnection capacity auction. That could provide future operating revenue for those troubled units, he said.Full article: read more