FirstEnergy CEO: Company on track for $1bn in investments in 2017 in ‘Energizing the Future’ initiative

FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) President and CEO Charles Jones on Feb. 22 said that the company is on track for $1bn in investments in its “Energizing the Future” initiative in 2017, with most of that investment “taking place where we have formula rates.”

Speaking during the company’s 4Q16 earnings call, Jones noted that this is the last year of FirstEnergy’s initial $4.2bn investment in that initiative.

“In November, we announced the continuation of the program with $3.2[bn] to $4.8bn in transmission investments planned in 2018 through 2021,” he said. “We also announced our plan to issue up to $500m of incremental equity annually in 2017 through 2019 to help fund these investments.”

As TransmissionHub reported, according to the company, key factors driving investments related to the initiative include replacing existing equipment with advanced technologies designed to enhance system reliability; meeting projected load growth driven by shale gas-related activity and other development in the region; and reinforcing the system in light of power plant deactivations.

Jones also noted that FirstEnergy late last month completed the transfer of Penelec and Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed) transmission assets into FirstEnergy’s new Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission (MAIT) subsidiary, following approval from FERC and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

While formula rates for Jersey Central Power & Light and MAIT remain pending at FERC, FirstEnergy requested implementation effective Jan. 1 and Feb. 1 for JCP&L and MAIT, respectively, he said.

Discussing distribution, Jones said that in Pennsylvania, FirstEnergy received approval of rate case settlements for its four operating companies, with an expected distribution revenue increase of about $290m annually.

In New Jersey, an “approved settlement for JCP&L provides for an annual distribution revenue increase of $80m, and in Ohio, we will collect approximately $200m annually for at least three years, and up to five, under the Ohio distribution modernization rider,” he said. “The new rates and the Ohio rider all went into effect last month.”

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.