$120 Million will be Spent in 2015 in the Toledo Edison Service Area to Strengthen Electric ServiceProjects will Enhance Service and Help Support Economic Growth
TOLEDO, Ohio, March 10, 2015 -- As part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen the durability and flexibility of its electric system, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) expects to invest about $120 million in 2015 on distribution and transmission infrastructure projects in Toledo Edison's eight-county service area in northwest Ohio.
Major projects scheduled for 2015 include the completion of a new transmission substation in the Perrysburg area, continuing work on a new 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line, replacing transformers and breakers, and inspecting and replacing utility poles and other equipment.
More than $76 million of the budgeted total will be spent on transmission-related projects owned by American Transmission Systems, Incorporated, a FirstEnergy transmission company.
"We continually review and re-evaluate our system, looking for projects that can provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of our customers," said Rich Sweeney, president of Toledo Edison. "This ongoing work, in addition to equipment inspections, improves our system, helping to reduce the number and length of service disruptions our customers might experience."
Scheduled FirstEnergy projects planned in the Toledo Edison service area in 2015 include:
- Completing a new 48-mile transmission line that runs through parts of Fulton, Henry, Lucas and Wood counties at an estimated cost of almost $18 million to help enhance service reliability in the region by strengthening the grid and increasing flexibility in the routing of power.
- Spending an expected $10 million to complete a new transmission substation south of Perrysburg to help enhance service reliability in the region.
- Replacing a large transformer at a substation near Sylvania at an estimated cost of nearly $3 million.
- Upgrading equipment on distribution circuits throughout the region at an estimated cost of $4 million to help reduce the number of outages and improve reliability. The improvements include adding and replacing step transformer banks, lightning protection, insulators, cross arms and braces, grounds and animal guards.
- Investing more than $2.2 million inspecting and replacing distribution poles in the Toledo Edison service area. This inspection process is conducted on a 10-year cycle. More than 21,000 utility poles are scheduled to be inspected in 2015 and replaced or repaired, as needed.
- Replacing 345-kV circuit breakers at a substation at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station at an expected cost of about $1.5 million.
Toledo Edison serves more than 300,000 customers in all or parts of Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams and Wood counties in northwest Ohio. Visit FirstEnergy on the web at www.firstenergycorp.com, and follow Toledo Edison on Twitter @ToledoEdison.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company 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. 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," "will," "intend," "believe," "project," "estimate" 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 revised sales strategy for the Competitive Energy Services segment; the accomplishment of our regulatory and operational goals in connection with our transmission investment plan, pending transmission and distribution rate cases and the effectiveness of our repositioning 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 pending 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 pending rate cases, including the Electric Security Plan IV in Ohio; the impact of the federal regulatory process on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (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; regulatory outcomes associated with storm restoration costs, including but not limited to, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm of 2011; changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil, and their availability and impact on retail margins; 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, proposed greenhouse gases emission and water discharge regulations and the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's coal combustion residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, including our estimated costs of compliance, and Clean Water Act 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 expenditures 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 the timing thereof as they relate to the reliability of the transmission grid; the impact of other future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units; 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 previously-implemented dividend reduction and our 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 announced 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 on our electronic data centers that could compromise the information stored on our networks, including proprietary information and customer data; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and other similar factors. The foregoing review of factors should not be construed as exhaustive. 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.
CONTACT: News Media Contact: Chris Eck, (330) 384-7939; FirstEnergy Corp., 76 S. Main Street, Akron, Ohio 44308, www.firstenergycorp.com