HAGERSTOWN — A proposed merger between FirstEnergy Corp. and Allegheny Energy Inc. generated positive comments from the public Thursday night during a hearing on the plan.
FirstEnergy and Allegheny, based in Greensburg, Pa., announced a $4.7 billion merger agreement in February. The deal would create one of the nation's largest power companies serving 6.1 million customers from Ohio to New Jersey.
They have filed applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and state regulators in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The merger also would require Virginia's approval.
About 30 people attended a Maryland Public Service Commission hearing held at the Hager Hall Conference and Event Center on Dual Highway.
Robin L. Ferree, deputy director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said that Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of Allegheny Energy, has roots in the community dating back to 1923.
Ferree said that Allegheny Energy’s role in the community over the years has been an “important economic engine,” noting that more than half of Allegheny’s employees work in Washington County.
Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, talked about the importance of forming partnerships with FirstEnergy to further economic development.
Hagerstown City Council member Ashley Haywood said she hopes the merger will result in reduced electric rates and would also like to see FirstEnergy establish a regional headquarters in Hagerstown.
According to the merger application, Allegheny's 250,000 Maryland customers would receive a $2.5 million rate refund over two years.
The hearing was the second of four scheduled across the region, and the PSC must rule on the merger by Jan. 7, said Terry Romine, executive secretary of the PSC.