FirstEnergy Generation Fleet Achieves Reliable Operating Record and Improved Safety Performance in 2014
AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 29, 2015 -- FirstEnergy Corp.'s (NYSE: FE) generation fleet operated safely and reliably in 2014, producing more than 97 million megawatt hours of electricity at its three nuclear power plants, nine coal-fired generating stations, and nine natural gas, oil and hydro facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey and Virginia. Typically, each megawatt produced by a power plant can supply up to 1,000 homes with electricity.
"We are committed to building on our achievements of last year to remain a trusted source of dependable and affordable electricity to our region in 2015," said Jim Lash, president, FirstEnergy Generation. "We are already on track to meet that commitment, with our generating plants delivering strong performance again this January."
Two of FirstEnergy's nuclear generating units achieved industry-leading reliability in 2014. Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station and Beaver Valley Power Station's Unit 2 each operated with a forced loss rate of zero last year. Forced loss rate measures the percentage of time a plant is not producing electricity related to an unplanned power reduction or outage. In addition, of the 100 nuclear power plants operating in the United States in 2014, FirstEnergy's Perry Nuclear Power Plant ranked fourth in the amount of electricity produced, generating 10.4 million megawatt hours.
FirstEnergy's generation fleet was well-positioned for reliable service throughout periods of extreme weather in 2014. During last January's polar vortex, the company's fossil fleet kept pace with high customer demand, operating at more than 90 percent equivalent availability factor during that period, a measure that reflects the amount of time a generating unit is available to produce electricity.
Several generating plants underwent equipment upgrades in 2014 to improve reliability and environmental performance. Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station replaced its two steam generators in a $600-million project, which is expected to enhance operating reliability for years to come. The company also made significant progress on a $60-million project to convert five coal-fired units at its Eastlake Plant to synchronous condensers that provide voltage support and additional reliability to the electrical grid. This is a project that is being funded by American Transmission Systems, Incorporated, a FirstEnergy transmission company. Other projects included improving cooling tower efficiency at the Fort Martin Power Station and installing equipment at coal-fired plants to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's upcoming Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).
FirstEnergy's fossil generation fleet also improved personal safety performance by 50 percent in 2014. FirstEnergy's fossil fleet achieved an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable incident rate historically among the best in the industry and the top decile of its peers.
Collectively, FirstEnergy's generating facilities operated more than 15.3 million consecutive hours in 2014 without a lost-time accident. Three FirstEnergy generating facilities have operated for more than one million hours since their last lost-time accident: Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania; Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio; and Ashtabula Plant in Ashtabula, Ohio.
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. Its generation subsidiaries control nearly 18,000 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," "will," "intend," "believe," "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 in the Competitive Energy Services segment; the accomplishment of our regulatory and operational goals in connection with our transmission plan and pending distribution rate cases and the effectiveness of our repositioning strategy; the impact of the regulatory process on pending matters in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates and pending rate cases, and 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 the PJM markets and also 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 NERC's mandatory reliability standards; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.; 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 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, possible greenhouse gases emission, water discharge, and coal combustion residuals regulations, the potential impacts of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, and the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rules including our estimated costs of compliance; 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, among other things, Reliability Must Run arrangements and 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; 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 successfully execute our announced 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; 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.
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