FirstEnergy CEO Jones Addresses Shareholders
Company announces preliminary results from 2016 Annual Meeting
Akron, Ohio -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) President and Chief Executive Officer Charles E. Jones told shareholders at today’s Annual Meeting that the company has made good progress on a number of its key initiatives, while focusing its efforts on achieving more regulated, customer-centered growth.
Calling 2015 a “productive and pivotal year for FirstEnergy,” Jones cited the company’s achievements including the continued success of a multi-year transmission investment program, solid results from a cash flow improvement initiative, and the launch of a new branding campaign that showcases the company’s environmental commitment.
“These and many other accomplishments in 2015 and so far this year reflect the dedicated efforts of our employees and their longstanding commitment to provide safe, reliable, clean and affordable electricity to our customers,” Jones said. “FirstEnergy’s continued success is a tribute to their hard work and resourcefulness.”
Jones also provided an update on the company’s rate plans in Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, noting that FirstEnergy’s overall goal is to ensure that the revenues earned by its utilities reflect the true cost of providing customers with the level of service they expect and deserve.
During his remarks, Jones introduced FirstEnergy’s new mission statement: “We are a forward-thinking electric utility powered by a diverse team of employees committed to making customers’ lives brighter, the environment better and our communities stronger.”
“This statement resonates with our team because it seems to perfectly summarize where we stand today as a company,” Jones said. “It speaks to our proud tradition of providing a basic, essential and primarily regulated service to homes and businesses throughout this region; the spirit of innovation that has enabled us to overcome the challenges we have faced over the years; a workforce that will become even more diverse in the years ahead; and a recognition that diversity will be one of our key strengths.
“It also speaks to the many benefits of a product that brings comfort, convenience, safety and productivity to our 6 million customers,” Jones said, “And it speaks to our responsibility to the communities we are privileged to serve and the natural resources that sustain the planet.”
A transcript of Jones’ prepared remarks can be found here.
FirstEnergy also announced preliminary voting results from its 2016 Annual Meeting. Shareholders reelected each of the 14 nominees to the company’s Board of Directors, ratified the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm, and approved an advisory vote on named executive officer compensation.
Based on preliminary results, management proposals to amend the company’s governing documents to replace existing supermajority voting requirements with a simple majority voting power threshold under certain circumstances and to amend the company’s Amended Code of Regulations to permit proxy access, as well as non-binding shareholder proposals related to lobbying and climate change, each failed to receive the requisite vote. Non-binding shareholder proposals related to a director election majority vote standard and simple majority vote each received at least a majority of shares cast.
All preliminary voting results are subject to final certification.
The following directors were elected to one-year terms:
- Paul T. Addison, retired managing director of Salomon Smith Barney (Citigroup)
- Michael J. Anderson, chairman of The Andersons, Inc.
- William T. Cottle, retired chairman, president and chief executive officer of STP Nuclear Operating Company
- Robert B. Heisler, Jr., retired dean of the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management of Kent State University and retired chairman of KeyBank N.A.
- Julia L. Johnson, president of NetCommunications, LLC
- Charles E. Jones, president and chief executive officer, FirstEnergy Corp.
- Ted J. Kleisner, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company
- Donald T. Misheff, retired managing partner of the Northeast Ohio offices of Ernst & Young LLP
- Thomas N. Mitchell, retired president, chief executive officer and director of Ontario Power Generation Inc.
- Ernest J. Novak, Jr., retired managing partner of the Cleveland office of Ernst & Young LLP
- Christopher D. Pappas, president, chief executive officer and director of Trinseo S.A.
- Luis A. Reyes, retired regional administrator of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- George M. Smart, non-executive chairman of the FirstEnergy Board of Directors and retired president of Sonoco-Phoenix, Inc., and
- Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, chief executive officer of Dream Catcher Educational Consulting and retired president and president emeritus of Cuyahoga Community College
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. Its generation subsidiaries control nearly 17,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro and other renewables. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. These statements include declarations regarding management's intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms “anticipate,” “potential,” “expect,” "forecast," "target," "will," "intend," “believe,” "project," “estimate," "plan" and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following: the speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry, in general, and the retail sales market in particular; the ability to experience growth in the Regulated Distribution and Regulated Transmission segments and to successfully implement our sales strategy for the Competitive Energy Services segment; the accomplishment of our regulatory and operational goals in connection with our transmission investment plan, including, but not limited to, the proposed transmission asset transfer to Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission, LLC, and the effectiveness of our strategy to reflect a more regulated business profile; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, assessment of the reliability of our transmission system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission investment opportunities; the impact of the regulatory process on the matters at the federal level and in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates and the Electric Security Plan IV (ESP IV) in Ohio, specifically the order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that rescinds the waiver regarding Electric Security Plan IV Purchase Power Agreement (ESP IV PPA) by and between FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. and The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison Company and The Toledo Edison Company, and other future rehearing requests, complaints or challenges that could impact the ESP IV and the ESP IV PPA; the impact of the federal regulatory process on FERC-regulated entities and transactions, in particular FERC regulation of wholesale energy and capacity markets, including PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) markets and FERC-jurisdictional wholesale transactions; FERC regulation of cost-of-service rates, including FERC Opinion No. 531's revised Return on Equity methodology for FERC-jurisdictional wholesale generation and transmission utility service; and FERC’s compliance and enforcement activity, including compliance and enforcement activity related to North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s mandatory reliability standards; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM; economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins such as a polar vortex or other significant weather events, and all associated regulatory events or actions; changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil prices, and their availability and impact on margins and asset valuations; the continued ability of our regulated utilities to recover their costs; costs being higher than anticipated and the success of our policies to control costs and to mitigate low energy, capacity and market prices; other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including, but not limited to, the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, Coal Combustion Residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards programs, including our estimated costs of compliance, Clean Water Act (CWA) waste water effluent limitations for power plants, and CWA 316(b) water intake regulation; the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation, including New Source Review litigation, or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such initiatives or rulemakings could result in our decision to deactivate or idle certain generating units); the uncertainties associated with the deactivation of certain older regulated and competitive fossil units, including the impact on vendor commitments and as it relates to the reliability of the transmission grid, the timing thereof; the impact of other future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units and any capacity performance charges associated with unit unavailability; adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to, the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings, including, but not limited to, any such proceedings related to vendor commitments; the impact of labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or not fully hedged; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, the ability to continue to reduce costs and to successfully execute our financial plans designed to improve our credit metrics and strengthen our balance sheet through, among other actions, our cash flow improvement plan and other proposed capital raising initiatives; our ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and/or our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated; the impact of changes to material accounting policies; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us and our subsidiaries; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and/or our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, letters of credit and other financial guarantees; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and/or our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties with which we do business, including fuel suppliers; the impact of any changes in tax laws or regulations or adverse tax audit results or rulings; issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our information technology system that may compromise our generation, transmission and/or distribution services and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information regarding our business, employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers, business partners and other individuals in our data centers and on our networks; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and other similar factors. Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy Corp.'s common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy Corp.'s Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating. The foregoing factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements and risks that are included in our filings with the SEC, including but not limited to the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy's business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.