FirstEnergy Launches Environmental Campaign Focused on a Cleaner Energy Future; Includes Green Offer for Ohio and PennsylvaniaFeatures Green Energy Offer for Residential Customers and Aggressive CO2 Reduction Target
AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 8, 2016 -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) has introduced a new branding campaign that demonstrates the company's commitment to a cleaner energy future. "The Switch is On" campaign highlights FirstEnergy's environmental achievements, its transition to cleaner energy sources, and a green energy electricity option from FirstEnergy Solutions for residential customers in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"The Switch is On" campaign kicked off yesterday and will run through July 2016. The campaign includes print advertisements in 17 newspapers and business journals, radio advertisements in 14 markets, and more than 50 billboards in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. In addition, digital advertisements will appear on more than 30 online news outlets as well as to targeted internet users.
Complementing the advertisements is a dedicated website – www.theswitchison.com – highlighting FirstEnergy's environmental goals and efforts, and the company's corporate website has been enhanced with additional environmental messaging. FirstEnergy also will support the environmental campaign through its social media channels with information such as tips for consumers on how to conserve energy and updates on FirstEnergy's environmental initiatives.
"FirstEnergy has a long history of environmental stewardship and investments in clean energy, including more than $10 billion to enhance environmental performance of the company's generating fleet since the Clean Air Act became law in 1970. We also are one of the region's largest providers of renewable energy from contracted wind and solar and pumped-storage hydro resources," said FirstEnergy President and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Jones. "While the transition to a cleaner energy future will take time, 'The Switch is On' – our ultimate goal is to continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable electricity to our customers through cleaner, smarter and more sustainable technologies."
In 2015, more than one third of the electricity produced by FirstEnergy's generating fleet was from carbon-free sources, including 31.9 million megawatt hours from three nuclear power stations, 1.6 million megawatt hours from two hydro plants, 1.2 million megawatt hours from five wind facilities and 36,000 megawatt hours from solar installations in Maryland and New Jersey.
Closure of eleven of FirstEnergy's older, less efficient power plants since 2012 has supported the company's transition to a cleaner energy fleet. With the completion of Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) projects in spring 2016, FirstEnergy is projected to have reduced nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 90 percent, sulfur dioxide (SO2) by 95 percent and mercury by 91 percent over 1990 levels at its power plants. As a result, the company's generating fleet will be nearly 100 percent low- or non-emitting.
FirstEnergy has set an aggressive goal of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 90 percent below 2005 levels by 2045, building on the 25 percent reduction in CO2 emissions already achieved across the company's footprint. This goal represents a potential reduction of more than 80 million tons of CO2 emissions and is among the most aggressive targets in the utility industry.
Actions planned for the future to reduce CO2 emissions and transition to cleaner energy sources include:
- Continuing to invest in cost-effective wind, solar and hydro generation resources
- Maintaining fuel diversity, including nuclear and natural gas
- Investing in advanced technologies to enhance carbon reduction at coal generation facilities
- Developing a Resource Diversification Program that includes energy efficiency programs and renewable energy resources
- Providing significant funding for energy efficiency and weatherization programs for low-income customers
- Encouraging the development of storage technologies that support more widespread use of intermittent generation sources
Green Energy Option Supports Renewable Resources
Residential customers in Ohio and Pennsylvania can help the transition to a cleaner energy future by signing up for a new green electricity option from FirstEnergy Solutions. Named "AllGreen Energy," the program allows customers to help stimulate clean power by supporting renewable resources that generate electricity on the grid. "AllGreen Energy" is Green-e Energy Certified®, the nation's leading independent certification and verification program for renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction products.
More information on the "AllGreen Energy" option, and green options for business customers, is available on the web at www.theswitchison.com.
Sustainability Programs Reflect Ongoing Environmental Commitment
In addition to transitioning to a cleaner generating fleet, FirstEnergy actively supports environmental stewardship through numerous conservation programs, including:
- Funding for an Ohio State University project that utilizes transmission line rights-of-way to encourage the growth of plant species that could help rejuvenate the declining bee, monarch butterfly and pollinating insect populations.
- Maintenance and operation of the 730-acre Navarre Marsh adjacent to the company's Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, an important wildlife refuge and stopping point for migratory birds along two major flyways.
- Achieving the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certification for the West Akron Campus and Akron Control Center in Akron, Ohio, and West Virginia Operations Center in Fairmont, W.Va.
Additional information about FirstEnergy's environmental achievements, stewardship programs and future goals is available in the Sustainability Report and environmental section of the company's website. For more information about FirstEnergy's environmental branding campaign, visit www.theswitchison.com.
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. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, while 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 or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
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 revised 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, our pending transmission rate case, the proposed transmission asset transfer, 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 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; changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil, 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 waste water effluent limitations for power plants, 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 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 they relate 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 previously-implemented dividend reduction, our cash flow improvement plan 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 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: Jennifer Young, (330) 761-4362; Investor Contact: Irene Prezelj, (330) 384-3859