2 FirstEnergy companies have filed for bankruptcy, what does this mean for customers?

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Over the weekend two of FirstEnergy's arms filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

It is important to note the parent company FirstEnergy, based in Akron, did not declare bankruptcy.

Instead, two of its energy producing companies have.

The two companies who have filed for bankruptcy are FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), which handles many of its coal-firing plants, and FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC).

For some time the energy company, that serves six million people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, has made it clear it would like to get out of the generating business and stick to the transmission and distribution business.

FirstEnergy is piling up debt from its coal and nuclear plants that can't compete with natural gas firing plants.

Natural gas has become a cheaper option to fire at plants because of the fracking industry growth.

In a statement released over the weekend Charles E. Jones, president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy said, "FirstEnergy and its other subsidiaries are not part of this Chapter 11 filing."

"The six million customers of our regulated utilities will continue to receive the same reliable service, while our regulated generation facilities will continue normal operations, with the same longstanding commitment to safety and the environment."

FirstEnergy has previously announced its intentions to sell or close seven plants:

  • 3 nuclear plants (Two in Ohio /Perry and David-Besse plants. One in Pennsylvania)
  • 2 coal plants
  • 1 gas/oil plant
  • 1 pet-coke plant

In the filing FirstEnergy claims to have $550 million in cash to continue operations during the restructuring and said there will be no interruption of service.

Showing its commitment to get out of production and more towards transmission a news release stated, "Earlier this year, FirstEnergy announced plans for more than $10 billion in capital investments in its regulated businesses through 2021."

"This includes the company's 10 electric distribution utilities, which serve six million customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York and together form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, as well as its transmission operations, which include approximately 24,000 miles of lines and two regional transmission operation centers."

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