First Energy to retire six coal-fired power plants

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - FirstEnergy Corp. announced Thursday that its generation subsidiaries will retire six older coal-fired power plants located in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland by September 1st.

The decision to close the plants is based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which were recently finalized, and other environmental regulations.

The total capacity of the competitive plants that will be retired is 2,689 megawatts.

Recently, these plants served mostly as peaking or intermediate facilities,generating, on average, approximately 10% of the electricity produced by thecompany over the past three years.

The following plants will be retired:

Bay Shore Plant, Units 2-4, Oregon, Ohio;
Eastlake Plant, Eastlake, Ohio;
Ashtabula Plant, Ashtabula, Ohio;
Lake Shore Plant,Cleveland, Ohio;
Armstrong Power Station, Adrian, Pa.;
R. Paul Smith PowerStation, Williamsport, Md.

In total, 529 employees will be directly affected. Existing severance benefits will apply to eligible, affected employees. However, the final number of affected employees could be less as some are considered for open positions at other FirstEnergy facilities and work locations, and eligible employees take advantage of a retirement benefit being offered to those 55 years and older.

"This decision is not in any way a reflection of the fine work done by the employees at the affected plants, but is related to the impact of new environmental rules," said James H. Lash, president, FirstEnergy Generation and chief nuclear officer. "We recently completed a comprehensive review of our coal-fired generating plants and determined that additional investments to implement MATS and other environmental rules would make these older plants even less likely to be dispatched under market rules. As a result, it was necessary to retire the plants rather than continue operations."