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FirstEnergy Corp. is a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

, Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

. Its subsidiaries and affiliates are involved in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity, as well as energy management and other energy-related services. Its ten electric utility operating companies comprise the nation’s largest investor-owned electric system, based on serving 6 million customers within a 67000 square miles (173,529.2 km²) area of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey. Its generation subsidiaries control more than 23,000 megawatts of capacity, and its distribution lines span over 194,000 miles. In 2007, FirstEnergy ranked 212 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest public corporations in America.

Formation of the company

FirstEnergy was formed in 1997, when Ohio Edison Company and its subsidiary, Pennsylvania Power Company merged with Centerior Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and The Toledo Edison Company. In 2001, FirstEnergy merged with GPU, Inc., the owner of Jersey Central Power & Light Company, Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), and Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed).

Ohio Edison

Ohio Edison Company (formerly ) was a publicly-traded holding company that began in 1930, from the consolidation of 200 electric companies. By 1950, it ended up with two utility operating companies. Ohio Edison Company continued in existence until 1997 when its merger with Centerior formed FirstEnergy:
  • In 1944, the Pennsylvania Power Company became a subsidiary of Ohio Edison, and is now one of the seven FirstEnergy operating utilities.

  • In 1950, the Ohio Edison Company merged with the Ohio Public Service Company, which continued to operate under its new Ohio Edison name. It is now one of the seven FirstEnergy operating companies.


Centerior Energy Corporation (formerly ) was formed in 1986 from the merger of two old operating companies. Centerior was based in Independence, Ohio
Independence, Ohio
Independence is a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 7,133.-Geography:Independence is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land....

 and existed as a publicly-traded holding company for only ten years, until its merger with Ohio Edison formed FirstEnergy in 1997:
  • Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, commonly known as The Illuminating Company, was a publicly-traded operating company through 1986, until it merged with Toledo Edison to come under the control of Centerior. Having been acquired by 1929, (org chart) by 1940 it had become one of ten major direct subsidiaries of North American Company
    North American Company
    The North American Company was a holding company incorporated in New Jersey on June 14, 1890, and controlled by Henry Villard, to succeed to the assets and property of the Oregon and Transcontinental Company...

    , which in turn had once been one of the original 12 stocks listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average
    Dow Jones Industrial Average
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average , also called the Industrial Average, the Dow Jones, the Dow 30, or simply the Dow, is a stock market index, and one of several indices created by Wall Street Journal editor and Dow Jones & Company co-founder Charles Dow...


  • Toledo Edison Company (formerly ) was a publicly-traded utility operating company, until it merged to form Centerior in 1986.


General Public Utilities (formerly ) was a publicly-traded utility holding company in Morristown, New Jersey
Morristown, New Jersey
Morristown is a town in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town population was 18,411. It is the county seat of Morris County. Morristown became characterized as "the military capital of the American Revolution" because of its strategic role in the...

. In 1996, the company was reorganized and renamed GPU, Inc. In 1996, it formed a new division as well, GPU Energy, which became the holding company for its three utility operating companies:
  • Jersey Central Power and Light

  • Penelec, formerly Pennsylvania Electric Company

  • Met-Ed, formerly Metropolitan Edison

In 2001, FirstEnergy Corporation, with its four utility operating companies, merged with GPU, Inc., bringing GPU's three additional operating companies into FirstEnergy as well.

Through the 2001 acquisition of GPU, FirstEnergy also acquired:
  • MYR Group (formerly ), a subsidiary that GPU had created as a publicly-traded company in the 1996 reorganization, to install and maintain utility power line
    Electric power transmission
    Electric-power transmission is the bulk transfer of electrical energy, from generating power plants to Electrical substations located near demand centers...

    s and cellular telephone communications towers.

In 1989, Standley H. Hoch left the General Dynamics Corporation in St. Louis and joined GPU, the large Parsippany, NJ-based utility qwning the Three Mile Island nuclear plant as CEO. Mr. Hoch had two mandates: trim management and lower costs, and fight to repeal the Public Utilities Holding Company Act of 1935, which makes it difficult for utilities to operate across state lines.

In 1990, GPU paid about $600,000 to Fleishman-Hillard
Fleishman-Hillard International Communications, based in St. Louis, Missouri, is one of the world's largest public relations agencies, with a global network of offices as well as offices in 22 cities in the United States. It is a part of Omnicom Group Inc....

, GPU's only outside public relations agency, largely to supplement the company's lobbying effort.

Allegheny Energy

Allegheny Energy
Allegheny Energy
Allegheny Energy is an electric utility headquartered in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. It owns and operates electric generation facilities and delivers electric services to customers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia...

 is an electric utility serving customers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. Its regulated subsidiaries are West Penn Power (serving Pennsylvania), Monongahela Power (northern West Virginia), and The Potomac Edison Company (western Maryland, parts of eastern West Virginia, and northern Virginia). The electric generating plants are operated by subsidiary Allegheny Energy Supply Company and Monongahela Power.

In February 2010, Allegheny Energy announced plans to merge with FirstEnergy. The merger has been approved by stockholders of both companies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the United States federal agency with jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, and oil pipeline rates...

, and regulatory commissions in Virginia and West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The merger was finalized when the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission approved the merger on February 24, 2011; the merger closed on February 25, 2011. The merger does not include Allegheny's service area in Virginia, which was purchased in 2010 by the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative and the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative.

Generating capacity

FirstEnergy's electric generation is primarily from coal and nuclear power plants. The system also includes natural gas, oil, and hydroelectric power plants. FirstEnergy operates the Beaver Valley
Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station
Beaver Valley Power Station is a nuclear power plant covering near Shippingport, Pennsylvania, west by north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.The Beaver Valley plant is operated by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Corporation...

, Davis-Besse
Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station is a nuclear power plant with a single pressurized water reactor, also referred to as a light water reactor. As of 2011, it is operated by the FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp...

, and Perry
Perry Nuclear Generating Station
The Perry Nuclear Power Plant is located on a 1,100-acre site on Lake Erie, 40 miles northeast of Cleveland in North Perry, Ohio, USA...

 nuclear power plants.

Environmental record

A study conducted by the University of Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts
This article relates to the statewide university system. For the flagship campus often referred to as "UMass", see University of Massachusetts Amherst...

 recognized the relatively low pollution profile of FirstEnergy. Although FirstEnergy placed 58 out of 100 of the country's largest polluters, the company performed better than its regional competitors, including American Electric Power
American Electric Power
American Electric Power is a major investor-owner electric utility in various parts of the United States. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S...

, which ranked number 35.

FirstEnergy is required to pay $1.5 billion by 2011 as part of a settlement to end a lawsuit that the United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ has filed. This lawsuit alleged that the company failed to install pollution control equipment when upgrading its coal burning plants. Also as part of the settlement, major pollution control equipment is now being installed at the FirstEnergy Sammis site and others. This lawsuit was one of the New Source Review
New Source Review
The New Source Review, is a permitting process created by the US Congress in 1977 as part of a series of amendments to the Clean Air Act. The NSR process requires industry to undergo an Environmental Protection Agency pre-construction review for environmental controls if they propose either...

 lawsuits filed in the 1990s.

To provide cleaner energy to its customers, FirstEnergy took several important steps in 2009. First, the company announced plans in April to repower units 4 and 5 at its R.E. Burger Plant in Shadyside, Ohio
Shadyside, Ohio
Shadyside is a village in Belmont County, Ohio, United States, along the Ohio River. It is part of the Wheeling, West Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, to generate electricity principally with biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

, the only base load renewable source that can displace coal electrons. Furthermore, FirstEnergy is hosting a 1MWe pilot plant test of carbon capture retrofit equipment on one of the remaining coal units at the R.E. Burger Plant. In September, FirstEnergy decided to complete construction on the Fremont Energy Center, a 707-MW natural-gas-fired peaking plant by the end of 2010. And finally in November, FirstEnergy purchased the rights to develop a compressed-air electric generating plant at the Norton site in Ohio, which Ohio Governor Ted Strickland
Ted Strickland
Theodore "Ted" Strickland was the 68th Governor of Ohio, serving from 2007 to 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served in the United States House of Representatives, representing ....

 praised as "an example of how we can leverage technology and our natural resources to grow our economy and ensure our energy future." The Norton project, part of the company’s overall climate change strategy, has the potential to be expanded to up to 2,700 MW of capacity—the largest in the world by far. According to the Electric Power Research Institute
Electric Power Research Institute
The Electric Power Research Institute conducts research on issues related to the electric power industry in USA. EPRI is a nonprofit organization funded by the electric utility industry. EPRI is primarily a US based organization, receives international participation...

, "a compressed-air energy storage project of this size...could be a key component in integrating large-scale intermittent renewables (such as wind) onto the nation's grid system." Together, these projects, when completed, will further reduce the utility’s emissions of , which already is about one-third below the regional average.

FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. has also given renewable energy certificates to help balance out the amount of electricity used in Earth Day
Earth Day
Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the...

 events that were held at nine post-secondary education locations in Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Each of the schools received five SmartWind REC’s, enough energy to light a large building for the entire day.

Notable accidents and incidents

  • The Three Mile Island accident
    Three Mile Island accident
    The Three Mile Island accident was a core meltdown in Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania near Harrisburg, United States in 1979....

     is an accident that occurred in 1979 in a nuclear plant run by Metropolitan Edison. The plant was sold by GPU to AmerGen Energy Corporation in 1998. In 2011, it was owned by Exelon
    Exelon Corporation is an electricity generating and distributing company headquartered in the Chase Tower in the Chicago Loop area of Chicago. It was created in October, 2000 by the merger of PECO Energy Company and Unicom, of Philadelphia and Chicago respectively. Unicom owned Commonwealth Edison...


  • The 2003 North American blackout was attributed partly to FirstEnergy's failure to trim the trees around its high voltage lines in a certain sector of Ohio; heat and extreme power needs caused the lines to sag, coming into contact with the trees and causing flashover
    Electric arc
    An electric arc is an electrical breakdown of a gas which produces an ongoing plasma discharge, resulting from a current flowing through normally nonconductive media such as air. A synonym is arc discharge. An arc discharge is characterized by a lower voltage than a glow discharge, and relies on...


  • The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
    Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
    Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is the public utility commission in Pennsylvania. It is composed of five commissioners, appointed by the Governor with the consent of the state Senate....

     voted on January 16, 2004 to investigate Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric and Pennsylvania Power (the former GPU companies) because their service reliability "may have fallen below established standards".

  • On Friday, January 20, 2006, FirstEnergy acknowledged a cover-up of serious safety violations by former workers at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, and accepted a plea bargain
    Plea bargain
    A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case whereby the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge with a recommendation of a lighter than the maximum sentence.A plea bargain allows criminal defendants to...

     with the U.S. Department of Justice in lieu of possible federal criminal prosecution. The plea bargain relates to the March 2002 discovery of severe corrosion
    Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

     in the pressure vessel
    Pressure vessel
    A pressure vessel is a closed container designed to hold gases or liquids at a pressure substantially different from the ambient pressure.The pressure differential is dangerous and many fatal accidents have occurred in the history of their development and operation. Consequently, their design,...

     of the nuclear reactor
    Nuclear reactor
    A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

    , contained within the plant's containment building
    Containment building
    A containment building, in its most common usage, is a steel or reinforced concrete structure enclosing a nuclear reactor. It is designed, in any emergency, to contain the escape of radiation to a maximum pressure in the range of 60 to 200 psi...

    . In the agreement, the company agreed to pay fines of $23 million, with an additional $5 million to be contributed toward research on alternative energy sources and to Habitat for Humanity as well as to pay for costs related to the Federal investigation. In addition, two former employees and one former contractor were indicted for purposely deceiving Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is an independent agency of the United States government that was established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 from the United States Atomic Energy Commission, and was first opened January 19, 1975...

     (NRC) inspectors in multiple documents (including one videotape) over several years, hiding evidence that the reactor pressure vessel was being seriously corroded by boric acid
    Boric acid
    Boric acid, also called hydrogen borate or boracic acid or orthoboric acid or acidum boricum, is a weak acid of boron often used as an antiseptic, insecticide, flame retardant, as a neutron absorber, and as a precursor of other chemical compounds. It exists in the form of colorless crystals or a...

    . The maximum penalty for the three is 25 years in prison. The indictment also cites other employees as providing false information to inspectors, but does not name them.

  • In 2005, the NRC identified two earlier incidents at Davis-Besse as being among the top five events (excluding the actual disaster at Three Mile Island) most likely to have resulted in a nuclear disaster in the event of a subsequent failure.

External links