Summary of FirstEnergy Corporation
FirstEnergy Corp is an energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio, and its subsidiaries and affiliates generate, transmit, and distribute electricity to the following states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland. The company receives 54 percent of its energy from coal, 27.6 percent from nuclear, 8.6 percent from natural gas, 6.4 percent from hydroelectricity, and 3.4 percent from oil.
Merger with Allegheny Energy in Pennsylvania
In February of 2010, FirstEnergy made plans to by Allegheny Energy for $4.7 billion. The merger was approved on February 25, 2011 and created one of the largest U.S. utilities to date. As a result, the electric utility company now has the following ten electric distribution utilities that provide 24,000 megawatts to six million customers:
· Ohio Edison
· The Illuminating Company
· Toledo Edison
· Penn Power
· West Penn Power
· Jersey Central Power & Light
· Mon Power
· Potomac Edison
Criticism and Lawsuits against FirstEnergy
The company is mainly criticized on four different fronts: its utility rates, coal operations, false statements about the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Toledo, and its huge campaign contributions to politicians that promote the use of coal and fossil fuels.
Lawsuit in Pennsylvania:
A number of lawsuits have been filed against the electric utility company in 2012. On Many 30, 2012, the Little Blue Run Regional Action Group filed a lawsuit claiming the electric company failed to release toxic releases required by federal laws and exceeded pollution limits. Heart disease deaths were 46 percent higher around areas of the coal waste impoundment owned by the company.
The lawsuit came after the electric utility company proposed plans to expand the Bruce Mansfield Power Station Little Blue Run Dam used for a coal ash waste site for the Bruce Mansfield Power Station. The company offered the Green Township $15 million to accept the plans, but the plans halted after there was a huge amount of community opposition.
In the wake of proposals and lawsuits by the community, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) filed the first lawsuit against a coal ash dump operator in history for endangering the lives of citizens around the impoundment. The company was ordered to pay $800,000 in penalties and clean up contaminated water around the impoundment.
Lawsuit for Denying Responsibility at the Davis-Besse Plant in Toledo
FirstEnergy is perhaps most known for trying to cover up its responsibility for a huge hole in the lid of a high-pressure reactor at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Toledo. The electric utility company tried to deny responsibility to win a $200 million insurance case, and the company initially agreed to pay $33.5 million of criminal and civil fines for neglecting the corrosion and lying to government regulators.
The company proceeded to claim that the corrosion was not detectable because it happened between biennial inspections. The company’s statements were again found false, and the company agreed to pay $28 million in fines and research funds to the U.S. Department of Justice in order to avoid criminal prosecution.