With one major regulatory hurdle standing between the merger of FirstEnergy and local energy supplier Allegheny Energy, just what is FirstEnergy?
The Akron, Ohio-based company that could buy out Allegheny by the end of March has more diverse power-generating sources and more than three times as many employees as Allegheny. It serves 4.5 million customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, according to company information found at www.firstenergycorp.com, and in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
The company also has been made it into some major energy news stories in recent years, including the largest power blackout in North American history on Aug. 14, 2003, and a record fine by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission after corrosion ate a football-sized hole into the reactor vessel head at one of its nuclear power plants, according to government documents.
FirstEnergy was formed as the result of a 1997 merger of Ohio Edison Co. and its subsidiary, Pennsylvania Power Co., with Centerior Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. and Toledo Edison Co., according to a company history at www.firstenergycorp.com.
The company merged again in 2001, with New Jersey-based GPU Inc., which provided power in Pennsylvania and New Jersey through Metropolitan Edison Co., Pennsylvania Electric Co. and Jersey Central Power & Light Co., the website states.
As of October, FirstEnergy’s total generating capacity was almost 14,000 megawatts, according to the website.
Almost 4,000 megawatts, or 29 percent of that capacity, comes from FirstEnergy’s three nuclear plants — two in Ohio and one near Pittsburgh — according to the website and FirstEnergy spokeswoman Ellen Raines.