UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D. C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ___________________ to ___________________
Registrant; State of Incorporation;
Address; and Telephone Number
(An Ohio Corporation)
76 South Main Street
Akron, OH 44308
FIRSTENERGY SOLUTIONS CORP.
(An Ohio Corporation)
c/o FirstEnergy Corp.
76 South Main Street
Akron, OH 44308
OHIO EDISON COMPANY
(An Ohio Corporation)
c/o FirstEnergy Corp.
76 South Main Street
Akron, OH 44308
JERSEY CENTRAL POWER & LIGHT COMPANY
(A New Jersey Corporation)
c/o FirstEnergy Corp.
76 South Main Street
Akron, OH 44308
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OF THE ACT:
Title of Each Class
Name of Each Exchange
on Which Registered
Common Stock, $0.10 par value
New York Stock Exchange
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(g) OF THE ACT:
Title of Each Class
FirstEnergy Solutions Corp.
Common Stock, no par value per share
Ohio Edison Company
Common Stock, no par value per share
Jersey Central Power & Light Company
Common Stock, $10.00 par value per share
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes þ No o
Yes o No þ
FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company, and Jersey Central Power & Light Company
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
Yes o No þ
FirstEnergy Corp., FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company, and Jersey Central Power & Light Company.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Yes þ No o
FirstEnergy Corp., FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company and Jersey Central Power & Light Company
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
Yes þ No o
FirstEnergy Corp., FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company and Jersey Central Power & Light Company
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.
Yes o No þ
Yes þ No o
FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company and Jersey Central Power & Light Company
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large Accelerated Filer þ
Accelerated Filer o
Non-accelerated Filer (Do not check
if a smaller reporting company) þ
FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company and Jersey Central Power & Light Company
Smaller Reporting Company o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
Yes o No þ
FirstEnergy Corp., FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company and Jersey Central Power & Light Company
State the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and ask price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter.
FirstEnergy Corp., $20,518,723,171 as of June 30, 2012; and for all other registrants, none.
Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date:
AS OF JANUARY 31, 2013
FirstEnergy Corp., $.10 par value
FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., no par value
Ohio Edison Company, no par value
Jersey Central Power & Light Company, $10 par value
FirstEnergy Corp. is the sole holder of FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company and Jersey Central Power & Light Company common stock.
PART OF FORM 10-K INTO WHICH
DOCUMENT IS INCORPORATED
Proxy Statement for 2013 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held May 21, 2013
Parts II and III
This combined Form 10-K is separately filed by FirstEnergy Corp., FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company and Jersey Central Power & Light Company. Information contained herein relating to any individual registrant is filed by such registrant on its own behalf. No registrant makes any representation as to information relating to any other registrant, except that information relating to any of the FirstEnergy subsidiary registrants is also attributed to FirstEnergy Corp.
OMISSION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION
FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., Ohio Edison Company and Jersey Central Power & Light Company meet the conditions set forth in General Instruction I(1)(a) and (b) of Form 10-K and are therefore filing this Form 10-K with the reduced disclosure format specified in General Instruction I(2) to Form 10-K.
Forward-Looking Statements: This Form 10-K 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,” “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.
Actual results may differ materially due to:
The speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry, in general, and the retail sales market in particular.
The impact of the regulatory process on the pending matters before FERC and in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates and pending rate cases.
The uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from ATSI's realignment into PJM.
Economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins.
Regulatory outcomes associated with Hurricane Sandy.
Changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil, and availability and their impact on retail margins.
Financial derivative reforms that could increase our liquidity needs and collateral costs.
The continued ability of our regulated utilities to collect transition and other costs.
Operation and maintenance costs being higher than anticipated.
Other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including possible GHG emission, water discharge, water intake and coal combustion residual regulations, the potential impacts of CAIR, and any laws, rules or regulations that ultimately replace CAIR, and the effects of the EPA's MATS 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 NSR 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 unscrubbed regulated and competitive fossil units, including the impact on vendor commitments, and the timing thereof as they relate to, among other things, the RMR arrangements and the reliability of the transmission grid.
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 NRC or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant).
Adverse legal decisions and outcomes related to ME's and PN's ability to recover certain transmission costs through their TSC riders.
The impact of future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units.
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 inadequately 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 successfully complete the proposed West Virginia asset transfer and to improve our credit metrics.
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.
The ability to experience growth in the Regulated Distribution segment and to continue to successfully implement our direct retail sales strategy in the Competitive Energy Services segment.
Changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of liabilities and the value of assets held in our NDTs, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and 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 financing 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 our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, LOCs and other financial guarantees.
Changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties including fuel suppliers, with which we do business.
Issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business.
The risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our SEC filings, and other similar factors.
Dividends declared from time to time on FE's common stock during any annual period may in the aggregate vary from the indicated amount due to circumstances considered by FE's Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating.
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. The registrants expressly disclaim 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.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
The following abbreviations and acronyms are used in this report to identify FirstEnergy Corp. and its current and former subsidiaries:
Allegheny Energy, Inc., a Maryland utility holding company that merged with a subsidiary of FirstEnergy on February 25, 2011
Allegheny Energy Service Corporation, a subsidiary of AE
Allegheny Energy Supply Company, LLC, an unregulated generation subsidiary of AE
Allegheny Generating Company, a generation subsidiary of AE Supply
Allegheny Energy, Inc., together with its consolidated subsidiaries
MP, PE and WP
American Transmission Systems, Incorporated, formerly a direct subsidiary of FE that became a subsidiary of FET in April 2012, which owns and operates transmission facilities.
The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, an Ohio electric utility operating subsidiary
Centerior Energy Corp., former parent of CEI and TE, which merged with OE to form FirstEnergy in 1997
FirstEnergy Corp., a public utility holding company
FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, which operates nuclear generating facilities
FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., which provides energy-related products and services
FirstEnergy Service Company, which provides legal, financial and other corporate support services
FirstEnergy Transmission, LLC, formerly known as Allegheny Energy Transmission, LLC, a subsidiary of AE, which is the parent of ATSI and TrAIL and has a joint venture in PATH.
FirstEnergy Ventures Corp., which invests in certain unregulated enterprises and business ventures
FirstEnergy Generation, LLC, a subsidiary of FES, which owns and operates non-nuclear generating facilities
FirstEnergy Corp., together with its consolidated subsidiaries
Global Mining Holding Company, LLC, a joint venture between FEV, WMB Marketing Ventures, LLC and Pinesdale LLC
A subsidiary of Global Holding that owns coal transportation operations near Roundup, Montana
GPU, Inc., former parent of JCP&L, ME and PN, that merged with FirstEnergy on November 7, 2001
Jersey Central Power & Light Company, a New Jersey electric utility operating subsidiary
Metropolitan Edison Company, a Pennsylvania electric utility operating subsidiary
Element Merger Sub, Inc., a Maryland corporation and a wholly owned subsidiary of FirstEnergy
Monongahela Power Company, a West Virginia electric utility operating subsidiary of AE
FirstEnergy Nuclear Generation, LLC, a subsidiary of FES, which owns nuclear generating facilities
Ohio Edison Company, an Ohio electric utility operating subsidiary
CEI, OE and TE
Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, LLC, a joint venture between Allegheny and a subsidiary of AEP
PATH Allegheny Transmission Company, LLC
PATH West Virginia Transmission Company, LLC
The Potomac Edison Company, a Maryland electric utility operating subsidiary of AE
Pennsylvania Power Company, a Pennsylvania electric utility operating subsidiary of OE
ME, PN, Penn and WP
Pennsylvania Electric Company, a Pennsylvania electric utility operating subsidiary
PNBV Capital Trust, a special purpose entity created by OE in 1996
Shippingport Capital Trust, a special purpose entity created by CEI and TE in 1997
An indirect subsidiary of Global Holding that owns mining operations near Roundup, Montana
The Toledo Edison Company, an Ohio electric utility operating subsidiary
Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company, a subsidiary of FET, which owns and operates transmission facilities
OE, CEI, TE, Penn, JCP&L, ME, PN, MP, PE and WP
West Penn Power Company, a Pennsylvania electric utility operating subsidiary of AE
The following abbreviations and acronyms are used to identify frequently used terms in this report:
American Electric Power Company, Inc.
Administrative Law Judge
American Municipal Power, Inc.
Alternative Minimum Tax
GLOSSARY OF TERMS, Continued
Anker West Virginia Mining Company, Inc.
Anker Coal Group, Inc.
Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income
Asset Retirement Obligation
Auction Revenue Right
Atomic Safety and Licensing Board
Basic Generation Service
British Thermal Units
Clean Air Act
Clean Air Interstate Rule
Confirmatory Action Letter
Competitive Bid Process
Coal Combustion By-products
California Department of Water Resources
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
Clean Water Act
Construction Work in Progress
Deferred Compensation Plan for Outside Directors
Delivery Capital Recovery
United States Department of Energy
United States Department of Justice
Default Service Plan
Early Buyout Option
Electric Distribution Company
Executive Deferred Compensation Plan
Energy Efficiency and Conservation
Electric Generation Supplier
Environmental Impact Statement
Expanded Net Energy Cost
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Electric Power Research Institute
Electric Reliability Organization
Employee Stock Ownership Plan
Electric Security Plan
Financial Accounting Standards Board
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
First Mortgage Bond
Federal Power Act
Financial Transmission Right
Accounting Principles Generally Accepted in the United States of America
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
International Coal Group Inc.
Integrated License Application Process
GLOSSARY OF TERMS, Continued
Internal Revenue Service
Little Blue Run
Long-Term Capacity Agreement Pilot Program
Local Infrastructure and Transmission Enhancement
Letter of Credit
Load Serving Entity
Long-Term Incentive Plan
Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
Maryland Public Service Commission
Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc.
Moody’s Investors Service, Inc.
Minimum Offer Price Rule
Memorandum of Understanding
MISO Regional Transmission Expansion Plan
Nuclear Decommissioning Trust
Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited
National Environmental Policy Act
North American Electric Reliability Corporation
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
Non-Attainment New Source Review
Notice of Violation
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
New Source Review
New York State Public Service Commission
New York State Electric and Gas
Ohio Consumers' Counsel
Other Comprehensive Income
Other Post-Employment Benefits
Office and Professional Employees International Union
Over The Counter
Other Than Temporary Impairments
Ohio Valley Electric Corporation
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Pollution Control Revenue Bond
PJM Interconnection LLC
Provider of Last Resort
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Power Supply Agreement
Prevention of Significant Deterioration
GLOSSARY OF TERMS, Continued
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978
Research and Development
Renewable Energy Credit
Request for Proposal
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Reliability Pricing Model
Regional Transmission Expansion Plan
Regional Transmission Organization
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service
System Average Interruption Duration Index
System Average Interruption Frequency Index
Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives
Amended Substitute Senate Bill 221
Societal Benefits Charge
United States Securities and Exchange Commission
State Implementation Plan(s) Under the Clean Air Act
Smart Meter Implementation Plan
Standard Offer Service
Solar Renewable Energy Credit
Transition Bond Charge
Total Dissolved Solid
Three Mile Island Unit 2
Transmission Service Charge
Utility Workers Union of America
Variable Interest Entity
Virginia State Corporation Commission
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Public Service Commission of West Virginia
FirstEnergy Corp. was organized under the laws of the State of Ohio in 1996. FirstEnergy’s principal business is the holding, directly or indirectly, of all of the outstanding common stock of its principal subsidiaries: OE, CEI, TE, Penn (a wholly owned subsidiary of OE), JCP&L, ME, PN, AE and its principal subsidiaries (AE Supply, AGC, MP, PE, WP, FET and its principal subsidiaries (ATSI, TrAIL and PATH), and AESC), FES and its principal subsidiaries (FG and NG), and FESC. In addition, FirstEnergy holds all of the outstanding common stock of other direct subsidiaries including: FirstEnergy Properties, Inc., FEV, FENOC, FELHC, Inc., and GPU Nuclear, Inc.
FirstEnergy’s revenues are primarily derived from electric service provided by its utility operating subsidiaries (OE, CEI, TE, Penn, ATSI, JCP&L, ME, PN, MP, PE, WP and TrAIL) and the sale of energy and related products and services by its unregulated competitive subsidiaries, FES and AE Supply.
The Utilities’ combined service areas encompass approximately 65,000 square miles in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. The areas they serve have a combined population of approximately 13.4 million.
OE was organized under the laws of the State of Ohio in 1930 and owns property and does business as an electric public utility in that state. OE engages in the distribution and sale of electric energy to communities in a 7,000 square mile area of central and northeastern Ohio. The area it serves has a population of approximately 2.3 million. OE complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC and PUCO.
OE owns all of Penn’s outstanding common stock. Penn was organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1930 and owns property and does business as an electric public utility in that state. Penn is also authorized to do business in the State of Ohio. Penn furnishes electric service to communities in 1,100 square miles of western Pennsylvania. The area it serves has a population of approximately 0.4 million. Penn complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC and PPUC.
CEI was organized under the laws of the State of Ohio in 1892 and does business as an electric public utility in that state. CEI engages in the distribution and sale of electric energy in an area of 1,600 square miles in northeastern Ohio. The area it serves has a population of approximately 1.6 million. CEI complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC and PUCO.
TE was organized under the laws of the State of Ohio in 1901 and does business as an electric public utility in that state. TE engages in the distribution and sale of electric energy in an area of 2,300 square miles in northwestern Ohio. The area it serves has a population of approximately 0.7 million. TE complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC and PUCO.
ATSI was organized under the laws of the State of Ohio in 1998. ATSI owns major, high-voltage transmission facilities, which consist of approximately 5,800 pole miles of transmission lines with nominal voltages of 345 kV, 138 kV and 69 kV in the PJM Region. ATSI plans, operates, and maintains its transmission system in accordance with NERC reliability standards, and other applicable regulatory requirements. In addition, ATSI complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC and applicable state regulatory authorities.
JCP&L was organized under the laws of the State of New Jersey in 1925 and owns property and does business as an electric public utility in that state. JCP&L provides transmission and distribution services in 3,200 square miles of northern, western and east central New Jersey. The area it serves has a population of approximately 2.7 million. JCP&L also has an ownership interest in a hydroelectric generating facility. JCP&L complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC and the NJBPU.
ME was organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1922 and owns property and does business as an electric public utility in that state. ME provides transmission and distribution services in 3,300 square miles of eastern and south central Pennsylvania. The area it serves has a population of approximately 1.2 million. ME complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC and PPUC.
PN was organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1919 and owns property and does business as an electric public utility in that state. PN provides transmission and distribution services in 17,600 square miles of western, northern and south central Pennsylvania. The area it serves has a population of approximately 1.3 million. PN, as lessee of the property of its subsidiary, The Waverly Electric Light & Power Company, also serves customers in the Waverly, New York vicinity. PN complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC, NYPSC and PPUC.
PE was organized under the laws of the State of Maryland in 1923 and in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1974. PE is authorized to do business in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the States of West Virginia and Maryland. PE owns property and does business
as an electric public utility in those states. PE provides transmission and distribution services in 5,500 square miles area in portions of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The area it serves has a population of approximately 0.9 million. PE complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC, MDPSC, VSCC, and WVPSC.
MP was organized under the laws of the State of Ohio in 1924 and owns property and does business as an electric public utility in the state of West Virginia. MP provides generation, transmission and distribution services in 13,000 square miles of northern West Virginia. The area it serves has a population of approximately 0.8 million. As of December 31, 2012, MP owned or contractually controlled 2,076 MWs of generation capacity that is supplied to its electric utility business. In addition, MP is contractually obligated to provide PE with the power that PE needs to meet its load obligations in West Virginia. MP complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC and WVPSC.
WP was organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1916 and owns property and does business as an electric public utility in that state. WP provides transmission and distribution services in 10,400 square miles of southwestern, south-central and northern Pennsylvania. The area it serves has a population of approximately 1.6 million. WP complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC and PPUC.
TrAIL was organized under the laws of the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2006. TrAIL was formed to finance, construct, own, operate and maintain high-voltage transmission facilities in the PJM Region and has several transmission facilities in operation at the present time including a 500kV transmission line extending approximately 150 miles from southwestern Pennsylvania through West Virginia to a point of interconnection with Virginia Electric and Power Company in northern Virginia. TrAIL plans, operates and maintains its transmission system and facilities in accordance with NERC reliability standards, and other applicable regulatory requirements. In addition, TrAIL complies with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC, FERC, and applicable state regulatory authorities.
FES was organized under the laws of the State of Ohio in 1997. FES provides energy-related products and services to retail and wholesale customers. FES also owns and operates, through its FG subsidiary, fossil and hydroelectric generating facilities and owns, through its NG subsidiary, FirstEnergy’s nuclear generating facilities. FENOC, a separate subsidiary of FirstEnergy, organized under the laws of the State of Ohio in 1998, operates and maintains NG’s nuclear generating facilities. FES purchases the entire output of the generation facilities owned by FG and NG, as well as the output relating to leasehold interests of OE and TE in certain of those facilities that are subject to sale and leaseback arrangements with non-affiliates, pursuant to full output, cost-of-service PSAs.
AE Supply was organized under the laws of the State of Delaware in 1999. AE Supply provides energy-related products and services to wholesale and retail customers. AE Supply also owns and operates fossil and hydroelectric generating facilities and purchases and sells energy and energy-related commodities.
AGC was organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1981. AGC is owned approximately 59% by AE Supply and approximately 41% by MP. AGC’s sole asset is a 40% undivided interest in the Bath County, Virginia pumped-storage hydroelectric generation facility and its connecting transmission facilities. AGC provides the generation capacity from this facility to AE Supply and MP.
FES, FG, NG, AE Supply and AGC comply with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the SEC and FERC. In addition, NG and FENOC comply with the regulations, orders, policies and practices prescribed by the NRC.
FESC provides legal, financial and other corporate support services to affiliated FirstEnergy companies.
Reference is made to Note 18, Segment Information, of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for information regarding FirstEnergy’s reportable segments, which information is incorporated herein by reference.
Competitive and Regulated Generation
As of September 1, 2012, the following coal-fired power plants, which collectively include sixteen generating units, were deactivated: Albright, Armstrong, Bay Shore Units 2-4, Eastlake Units 4-5, R. Paul Smith, Rivesville and Willow Island. Five additional generating units, Ashtabula, Eastlake Units 1-3, and Lake Shore will remain active pursuant to RMR arrangements with PJM until their anticipated deactivation, which is expected in the spring of 2015.
FirstEnergy’s generating portfolio consists of 20,372 MW of diversified capacity (Competitive — 18,096 MW and Regulated — 2,276 MW). Of the generation asset portfolio, including approximately 12,120 MW (59.5%), consist of coal-fired capacity; 3,991 MW (19.6%) consist of nuclear capacity; 1,832 MW (9.0%) consist of hydroelectric capacity; 1,745 MW (8.6%) consist of oil and natural gas units; 496 MW (2.4%) consist of wind and solar facilities; and 188 MW (0.9%) consist of capacity entitlements to output from generation assets owned by OVEC. All units are located within PJM and sell electric energy, capacity and other products into the wholesale markets that are operated by PJM.
Within the Competitive portfolio, 11,540 MW consist of FES' facilities that are operated by FENOC and FG (including entitlements from OVEC, wind and solar power arrangements), except for portions of certain facilities that are subject to the sale and leaseback arrangements with non-affiliates referred to above. The corresponding output of these arrangements is available to FES through
power sale agreements, and are owned directly by NG and FG, respectively. Another 6,556 MW of the Competitive portfolio consists of AE Supply's facilities, including 660 MW from AGC's Bath County, Virginia hydroelectric facility that AE Supply partially owns and 67 MW of AE Supply's 3.01% entitlement from OVEC's generation output. FES' generating facilities are concentrated primarily in Ohio and Pennsylvania and AE Supply's generating facilities are primarily located in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio.
Within the Regulated portfolio, 200 MW consist of JCP&L's 50% ownership interest in the Yards Creek hydroelectric facility in New Jersey; 2,065 MW consist of MP's facilities, including 450 MW from AGC's Bath County, Virginia hydroelectric facility that MP partially owns. MP's facilities are concentrated primarily in West Virginia. 11 MW consist of MP's 0.49% entitlement from OVEC's generation output.
Each of the Utilities' retail rates, conditions of service, issuance of securities and other matters are subject to regulation in the states in which it operates - in Maryland by the MDPSC, in Ohio by the PUCO, in New Jersey by the NJBPU, in Pennsylvania by the PPUC, in West Virginia by the WVPSC and in New York by the NYPSC. The transmission operations of PE in Virginia are subject to certain regulations of the VSCC. In addition, under Ohio law, municipalities may regulate rates of a public utility, subject to appeal to the PUCO if not acceptable to the utility.
As competitive retail electric suppliers serving retail customers primarily in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and Maryland, FES and AE Supply are subject to state laws applicable to competitive electric suppliers in those states, including affiliate codes of conduct that apply to FES, AE Supply and their public utility affiliates. In addition, if FES, AE Supply or any of their subsidiaries were to engage in the construction of significant new generation facilities in any of those states, they would also be subject to state siting authority.
With respect to their wholesale services and rates, the Utilities, AE Supply, ATSI, AGC, FES, FG, NG, PATH and TrAIL are subject to regulation by FERC. Under the FPA, FERC regulates rates for interstate sales at wholesale, transmission of electric power, accounting and other matters, including construction and operation of hydroelectric projects. FERC regulations require ATSI, JCP&L, ME, MP, PE, PN, WP and TrAIL to provide open access transmission service at FERC-approved rates, terms and conditions. Transmission facilities of ATSI, JCP&L, ME, MP, PE, PN, WP and TrAIL are subject to functional control by PJM and transmission service using their transmission facilities is provided by PJM under its open access transmission tariff. See FERC Matters below.
FERC regulates the sale of power for resale in interstate commerce in part by granting authority to public utilities to sell wholesale power at market-based rates upon a showing that the seller cannot exert market power in generation or transmission. OE, CEI, TE, Penn, JCP&L, ME, PN, MP, WP, and PE each have been authorized by FERC to sell wholesale power in interstate commerce and have a market-based rates tariff on file with FERC; although major wholesale purchases and sales remain subject to regulation by the relevant state commissions. Moreover, as a condition to selling electricity on a wholesale basis at market-based rates, OE, CEI, TE, Penn, JCP&L, ME, PN, MP, WP and PE, like all other entities granted market-based rate authority, must file electronic quarterly reports with FERC listing their sales transactions for the prior quarter. AE Supply, FES, FG and NG each have been authorized by FERC to sell wholesale power in interstate commerce and have a market-based tariff on file with FERC. By virtue of this tariff and authority to sell wholesale power, each company is regulated as a public utility under the FPA. However, consistent with its historical practice, FERC has granted AE Supply, FES, FG and NG a waiver from most of the reporting, record-keeping and accounting requirements that typically apply to traditional public utilities. Along with market-based rate authority, FERC also granted AE Supply, FES, FG and NG blanket authority to issue securities and assume liabilities under Section 204 of the FPA. As a condition to selling electricity on a wholesale basis at market-based rates, AE Supply, FES, FG and NG, like all other entities granted market-based rate authority, must file electronic quarterly reports with FERC, listing their sales transactions for the prior quarter.
The nuclear generating facilities owned and leased by NG and OE, and operated by FENOC, are subject to extensive regulation by the NRC. The NRC subjects nuclear generating stations to continuing review and regulation covering, among other things, operations, maintenance, emergency planning, security and environmental and radiological aspects of those stations. The NRC may modify, suspend or revoke operating licenses and impose civil penalties for failure to comply with the Atomic Energy Act, the regulations under such Act or the terms of the licenses. FENOC is the licensee for the operating nuclear plants and has direct compliance responsibility for NRC matters. FES controls the economic dispatch of NG’s plants. See Nuclear Regulation below.
The Utilities, ATSI, PATH and TrAIL recognize, as regulatory assets, costs which FERC, PUCO, PPUC MDPSC, WVPSC and NJBPU, as applicable, have authorized for recovery from customers in future periods or for which authorization is probable. Without the probability of such authorization, costs currently recorded as regulatory assets would have been charged to income as incurred. All regulatory assets are expected to be recovered from customers. Based on current ratemaking procedures, the Utilities, ATSI, PATH and TrAIL continue to collect cost-based rates for their transmission and distribution services and, in the case of PATH, for its abandoned plant, which remains regulated; accordingly, it is appropriate that the Utilities, ATSI, PATH and TrAIL continue the application of regulatory accounting to those operations.
FirstEnergy accounts for the effects of regulation through the application of regulatory accounting to the Utilities, ATSI, PATH and TrAIL since their rates are established by a third-party regulator with the authority to set rates that bind customers, are cost-based and can be charged to and collected from customers.
An enterprise meeting all of these criteria capitalizes costs that would otherwise be charged to expense (regulatory assets) if the rate actions of its regulator make it probable that those costs will be recovered in future revenue. Regulatory accounting is applied only to the parts of the business that meet the above criteria. If a portion of the business applying regulatory accounting no longer meets those requirements, previously recorded net regulatory assets are removed from the balance sheet in accordance with GAAP.
Federally-enforceable mandatory reliability standards apply to the bulk electric system and impose certain operating, record-keeping and reporting requirements on the Utilities, FES, AE Supply, FG, FENOC, ATSI and TrAIL. NERC is the ERO designated by FERC to establish and enforce these reliability standards, although NERC has delegated day-to-day implementation and enforcement of these reliability standards to eight regional entities, including RFC. All of FirstEnergy's facilities are located within the RFC region. FirstEnergy actively participates in the NERC and RFC stakeholder processes, and otherwise monitors and manages its companies in response to the ongoing development, implementation and enforcement of the reliability standards implemented and enforced by RFC.
FirstEnergy believes that it is in compliance with all currently-effective and enforceable reliability standards. Nevertheless, in the course of operating its extensive electric utility systems and facilities, FirstEnergy occasionally learns of isolated facts or circumstances that could be interpreted as excursions from the reliability standards. If and when such items are found, FirstEnergy develops information about the item and develops a remedial response to the specific circumstances, including in appropriate cases “self-reporting” an item to RFC. Moreover, it is clear that the NERC, RFC and FERC will continue to refine existing reliability standards as well as to develop and adopt new reliability standards. The financial impact of complying with future new or amended standards cannot be determined at this time; however, 2005 amendments to the FPA provide that all prudent costs incurred to comply with the future reliability standards be recovered in rates. Any future inability on FirstEnergy's part to comply with the reliability standards for its bulk power system could result in the imposition of financial penalties that could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Maryland Regulatory Matters
PE provides SOS pursuant to a combination of settlement agreements, MDPSC orders and regulations, and statutory provisions. SOS supply is competitively procured in the form of rolling contracts of varying lengths through periodic auctions that are overseen by the MDPSC and a third party monitor. Although settlements with respect to residential SOS for PE customers expired on December 31, 2012, by statute, service continues in the same manner unless changed by order of the MDPSC. The settlement provisions relating to non-residential SOS have also expired, however, by MDPSC order, the terms of service remain in place unless PE requests or the MDPSC orders a change. PE recovers its costs plus a return for providing SOS.
The Maryland legislature in 2008 adopted a statute codifying the EmPOWER Maryland goals to reduce electric consumption by 10% and reduce electricity demand by 15%, in each case by 2015. Expenditures were originally estimated to be approximately $101 million for the PE programs for the period of 2009 to 2015 and would have been recovered over that six-year period. Maryland law only allows for the utility to recover lost distribution revenue attributable to energy efficiency or demand reduction programs through a base rate case proceeding, and to date such recovery has not been sought or obtained by PE. Meanwhile, after extensive meetings with the MDPSC Staff and other stakeholders, on August 31, 2011, PE filed a new comprehensive plan that includes additional and improved programs for the period 2012-2014. The plan is expected to cost approximately $66 million over the three-year period. On December 22, 2011, the MDPSC issued an order approving PE's plan with various modifications and follow-up assignments.
Pursuant to a bill passed by the Maryland legislature in 2011, the MDPSC proposed rules, based on the product of a working group of utilities, regulators and other interested stakeholders, that create specific requirements related to a utility's obligation to address service interruptions, downed wire response, customer communication, vegetation management, equipment inspection, and annual reporting. The bill requires that the MDPSC consider cost-effectiveness, and provides that the MDPSC may adopt different standards for different utilities based on such factors as system design and existing infrastructure, geography and customer density. Beginning in July 2013, the MDPSC will be required to assess each utility's compliance with the new rules, and may assess penalties of up to $25,000 per day, per violation. At a hearing on April 17, 2012, the MDPSC approved re-publication of the rules as final. The new rules set utility-specific SAIDI and SAIFI targets for 2012-2015; prescribe detailed tree-trimming requirements, outage restoration and downed wire response deadlines; and impose other reliability and customer satisfaction requirements. PE has advised the MDPSC that compliance with the new rules is expected to increase costs by approximately $106 million over the period 2012-2015.
Following a "derecho" storm through the region on June 29, 2012, the MDPSC convened a new proceeding to consider matters relating to the electric utilities' performance in responding to the storm. Hearings on the matter were conducted in September 2012. Concurrently, Maryland's governor convened a special panel to examine possible ways to improve the resilience of the electric distribution system. On October 3, 2012, that panel issued a report calling for various measures including: acceleration and expansion of some of the requirements contained in the reliability standards that the MDPSC approved on April 17, 2012, and which had
become final on May 28, 2012; for selective increased investment in system hardening; for creation of separate recovery mechanisms for the costs of those changes and investments; and penalties or bonuses on returns earned by the utilities based on their reliability performance. The panel's report has been referred to the MDPSC for action.
New Jersey Regulatory Matters
JCP&L currently provides BGS for retail customers who do not choose a third party EGS and for customers of third party EGSs that fail to provide the contracted service. The supply for BGS, which is comprised of two components, is provided through contracts procured through separate, annually held descending clock auctions, the results of which are approved by the NJBPU. One BGS component and auction, reflecting hourly real time energy prices, is available for larger commercial and industrial customers. The other BGS component and auction, providing a fixed price service, is intended for smaller commercial and residential customers. All New Jersey EDCs participate in this competitive BGS procurement process and recover BGS costs directly from customers as a charge separate from base rates.
On September 7, 2011, the Division of Rate Counsel filed a Petition with the NJBPU asserting that it has reason to believe that JCP&L is earning an unreasonable return on its New Jersey jurisdictional rate base. The Division of Rate Counsel requested that the NJBPU order JCP&L to file a base rate case petition so that the NJBPU may determine whether JCP&L's current rates for electric service are just and reasonable. In its written Order issued July 31, 2012, the NJBPU found that a base rate proceeding "will assure that JCP&L's rates are just and reasonable and that JCP&L is investing sufficiently to assure the provision of safe, adequate and proper utility service to its customers" and ordered JCP&L to file a base rate case using a historical 2011 test year. The rate case petition was filed on November 30, 2012. In the filing, JCP&L requested approval to increase its revenues by approximately $31.5 million and reserved the right to update the filing to include costs associated with the impact of Hurricane Sandy. The NJBPU has transmitted the case to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law for further proceedings and an ALJ has been assigned. Evidentiary hearings in the matter are currently anticipated to commence in September, 2013. On February 22, 2013, JCP&L updated its filing to request recovery of $603 million of distribution-related Hurricane Sandy restoration costs, resulting in increasing the total revenues requested to approximately $112 million.
Pursuant to a formal Notice issued by the NJBPU on September 14, 2011, public hearings were held in September 2011 to solicit comments regarding the state of preparedness and responsiveness of New Jersey's EDCs prior to, during, and after Hurricane Irene, with additional hearings held in October 2011. Additionally, the NJBPU accepted written comments through October 28, 2011 related to this inquiry. On December 14, 2011, the NJBPU Staff filed a report of its preliminary findings and recommendations with respect to the electric utility companies' planning and response to Hurricane Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm. The NJBPU selected a consultant to further review and evaluate the New Jersey EDCs' preparation and restoration efforts with respect to Hurricane Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm, and the consultant's report was submitted to and subsequently accepted by the NJBPU on September 12, 2012. JCP&L submitted written comments on the report. On January 24, 2013, based upon recommendations in its consultant's report, the NJBPU ordered the New Jersey EDCs to take a number of specific actions to improve their preparedness and responses to major storms. The order includes specific deadlines for implementation of measures with respect to preparedness efforts, communications, restoration and response, post event and underlying infrastructure issues. JCP&L is developing an appropriate plan to implement the required measures.
Ohio Regulatory Matters
The Ohio Companies primarily operate under an ESP, which expires on May 31, 2014. The material terms of the ESP include:
Generation supplied through a CBP;
A load cap of no less than 80%, so that no single supplier is awarded more than 80% of the tranches, which also applies to tranches assigned post-auction;
A 6% generation discount to certain low income customers provided by the Ohio Companies through a bilateral wholesale contract with FES (FES is one of the wholesale suppliers to the Ohio Companies);
No increase in base distribution rates through May 31, 2014; and
A new distribution rider, Rider DCR, to recover a return of, and on, capital investments in the delivery system.
The Ohio Companies also agreed not to recover from retail customers certain costs related to transmission cost allocations by PJM as a result of ATSI's integration into PJM for the longer of the five-year period from June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2016 or when the amount of costs avoided by customers for certain types of products totals $360 million. The Ohio Companies have also agreed, subject to the outcome of certain PJM proceedings, to establish a $12 million fund to assist low income customers over the term of the ESP and agreed to additional matters related to energy efficiency and alternative energy requirements.
On April 13, 2012, the Ohio Companies filed an application with the PUCO to essentially extend the terms of their current ESP for two years. The ESP 3 Application was approved by the PUCO on July 18, 2012. Several parties timely filed applications for rehearing, which the PUCO granted on September 12, 2012, solely for the purpose of giving the PUCO additional time to consider the issues raised in the applications for rehearing. The PUCO issued an Entry on Rehearing on January 30, 2013 denying all applications for rehearing.
As approved, the ESP 3 plan continues certain provisions from the current ESP including:
Continuing the current base distribution rate freeze through May 31, 2016;
Continuing to provide economic development and assistance to low-income customers for the two-year extension period at levels established in the existing ESP;
Providing Percentage of Income Payment Plan customers with a 6% generation rate discount;
Continuing to provide power to shopping and to non-shopping customers as part of the market-based price set through an auction process; and
Continuing Rider DCR that allows continued investment in the distribution system for the benefit of customers.
As approved, the ESP 3 plan will provide additional provisions, including:
Securing generation supply for a longer period of time by conducting an auction for a three-year period rather than a one-year period, in each of October 2012 and January 2013, to mitigate any potential price spikes for the Ohio Companies' utility customers who do not switch to a competitive generation supplier; and
Extending the recovery period for costs associated with purchasing RECs mandated by SB221 through the end of the new ESP 3 period. This is expected to initially reduce the monthly renewable energy charge for all non-shopping utility customers of the Ohio Companies by spreading out the costs over the entire ESP period.
Under the provisions of SB221, the Ohio Companies are required to implement energy efficiency programs that will achieve a total annual energy savings equivalent of approximately 1,211 GWHs in 2012 (an increase of 416,000 MWHs over 2011 levels), 1,726 GWHs in 2013, 2,306 GWHs in 2014 and 2,903 GWHs for each year thereafter through 2025. The Ohio Companies were also required to reduce peak demand in 2009 by 1%, with an additional 0.75% reduction each year thereafter through 2018.
In December 2009, the Ohio Companies filed their three-year portfolio plan, as required by SB221, seeking approval for the programs they intended to implement to meet the energy efficiency and peak demand reduction requirements for the 2010-2012 period. In March 2011, the PUCO issued an Opinion and Order generally approving the Ohio Companies' 2010-2012 portfolio plan which provides for recovery of all costs associated with the programs, including lost revenues. The Ohio Companies have implemented those programs included in the plan. Failure to comply with the benchmarks or to obtain such an amendment may subject the Ohio Companies to an assessment of a penalty by the PUCO.
The Ohio Companies had filed an application for rehearing regarding portions of the PUCO's decision related to the Ohio Companies' three-year portfolio plan, which was later denied by the PUCO and the subsequent appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Ohio. In accordance with PUCO Rules and a PUCO directive, the Ohio Companies filed their next three-year portfolio plan for the period January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2015 on July 31, 2012. Estimated costs for the three Ohio Companies' plans total approximately $250 million over the three-year period. Hearings were held with the PUCO in October 2012. Because the next three year-plans would not be approved until after 2012, the Ohio Companies filed a motion with the PUCO to extend their existing energy efficiency programs and related cost recovery until the new plans are approved. This motion was approved on December 12, 2012.
Additionally, under SB221, electric utilities and electric service companies in Ohio were required to serve part of their load in 2011 from renewable energy resources equivalent to 1.00% of the average of the KWH they served in 2008-2010; in 2012 from renewable energy resources equivalent to 1.50% of the average of the KWH they served in 2009-2011; and in 2013 from renewable energy resources equivalent to 2.00% of the average of the KWH they served in 2010-2012. In August and October 2009 and in August 2010, the Ohio Companies conducted RFPs to secure RECs. The RECs acquired through these two RFPs were used to help meet the renewable energy requirements established under SB221 for 2009, 2010 and 2011. In August 2011, the Ohio Companies conducted two RFP processes to obtain RECs to meet the statutory benchmarks for 2011 and beyond. On September 20, 2011 the PUCO opened a new docket to review the Ohio Companies' alternative energy recovery rider. The PUCO selected auditors to perform a financial and management audit, and final audit reports were filed with the PUCO on August 15, 2012. While generally supportive of the Ohio Companies' approach to procurement of RECs, the management/performance auditor recommended the PUCO examine, for possible disallowance, certain costs associated with the procurement of In-State All Renewable obligations that the auditor characterized as excessive. A hearing for this matter commenced on February 19, 2013. In March 2012, the Ohio Companies conducted an RFP process to obtain SRECs to help meet the statutory benchmarks for 2012 and beyond. With the successful completion of this RFP, the Ohio Companies achieved their in-state solar compliance requirements for 2012. The Ohio Companies also held a short-term RFP process to obtain all state SRECs and both in-state and all state non-solar RECs to help meet the statutory benchmarks for 2012. With the successful completion of this RFP, the Ohio Companies also achieved their in-state and all-state solar compliance requirements for 2012. The Ohio Companies intend to conduct an RFP in 2013 to cover their all-state SREC and their in-state and all-state REC compliance obligations.
The PUCO instituted a statewide investigation on December 12, 2012 to evaluate the vitality of the competitive retail electric service market in Ohio. The PUCO provided interested stakeholders the opportunity to provide comments on twenty-two questions by March 1, 2013, with reply comments due on March 29, 2013. The questions posed are categorized as market design and corporate separation. The Ohio Companies plan to provide their comments by the deadline, but cannot predict the outcome of this investigation.
Pennsylvania Regulatory Matters
The Pennsylvania Companies currently operate under DSPs that expire May 31, 2013, and provide for the competitive procurement of generation supply for customers that do not choose an alternative EGS or for customers of alternative EGSs that fail to provide the contracted service. The default service supply is currently provided by wholesale suppliers through a mix of long-term and short-
term contracts procured through descending clock auctions, competitive requests for proposals and spot market purchases. On November 17, 2011, the Pennsylvania Companies filed a Joint Petition for Approval of their DSPs that will provide the method by which they will procure the supply for their default service obligations for the period of June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2015. The ALJ issued a Recommended Decision on June 15, 2012, that supported adoption of the Pennsylvania Companies' proposed wholesale procurement plans, denial of their proposed Market Adjustment Charge, and various modifications to the proposed competitive enhancements. The PPUC entered an opinion and order on August 16, 2012, which primarily resolved those issues related to procurement and rate design, but required the submission of revised proposals regarding the retail market enhancement programs. The Pennsylvania Companies filed revised proposals on the retail market enhancements on November 14, 2012. A final order was entered on February 15, 2013, which addressed minor changes to the Pennsylvania Companies' revised enhancement proposals and ordered two choices for cost recovery of those programs.
The PPUC entered an Order on March 3, 2010 that denied the recovery of marginal transmission losses through the TSC rider for the period of June 1, 2007 through March 31, 2008, and directed ME and PN to submit a new tariff or tariff supplement reflecting the removal of marginal transmission losses from the TSC. Pursuant to a plan approved by the PPUC, ME and PN began to refund those amounts to customers in January 2011, and the refunds are continuing over a 29-month period until the full amounts previously recovered for marginal transmission losses are refunded. In April 2010, ME and PN filed a Petition for Review with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania appealing the PPUC's March 3, 2010 Order. On June 14, 2011, the Commonwealth Court issued an opinion and order affirming the PPUC's Order to the extent that it holds that line loss costs are not transmission costs and, therefore, the approximately $254 million in marginal transmission losses and associated carrying charges for the period prior to January 1, 2011, are not recoverable under ME's and PN's TSC riders. ME and PN filed a Petition for Allowance of Appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which was denied on February 28, 2012. On June 27, 2012, ME and PN filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States. The certiorari petition sought review of the Pennsylvania State Court decisions. On October 9, 2012, the Supreme Court denied that petition. On July 13, 2011, ME and PN also filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for the purpose of obtaining an order that would enjoin enforcement of the PPUC and Pennsylvania court orders under a theory of federal preemption on the question of retail rate recovery of the marginal transmission loss charges. Proceedings in the U.S. District Court effectively were suspended until conclusion of the proceedings before the United States Supreme Court. When that court issued its ruling on October 9, 2012, the U.S. District Court proceedings returned to active status. Pursuant to procedural orders issued by U.S. District Court Judge Gardner, on December 21, 2012, the PPUC submitted its motion to dismiss the U.S. District Court proceedings. ME and PN submitted their answers on January 9, 2013, and subsequent pleadings were submitted by the PPUC, ME and PN. Oral argument on the PPUC motion to dismiss is scheduled for May 2013.
In each of May 2008, 2009 and 2010, the PPUC approved ME's and PN's annual updates to their TSC rider for the annual periods between June 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010, including marginal transmission losses as approved by the PPUC, although the recovery of marginal transmission losses will be subject to the outcome of the proceeding related to the 2008 TSC filing as described above. The PPUC's approval in May 2010 authorized an increase to the TSC for ME's customers to provide for full recovery by December 31, 2010. Although the ultimate outcome of this matter cannot be determined at this time, ME and PN believe that they should ultimately prevail through the judicial process and therefore expect to fully recover the approximately $254 million in marginal transmission losses for the period prior to January 1, 2011.
Pennsylvania adopted Act 129 in 2008 to address issues such as: energy efficiency and peak load reduction; generation procurement; time-of-use rates; smart meters; and alternative energy. Among other things, Act 129 required utilities to file with the PPUC an energy efficiency and peak load reduction plan (EE&C Plan) by July 1, 2009, setting forth the utilities' plans to reduce energy consumption by a minimum of 1% and 3% by May 31, 2011 and May 31, 2013, respectively, and to reduce peak demand by a minimum of 4.5% by May 31, 2013. Act 129 provides for potentially significant financial penalties to be assessed on utilities that fail to achieve the required reductions in consumption and peak demand. The Pennsylvania Companies submitted a final report on November 15, 2011, in which they reported on their compliance with statutory May 31, 2011, energy efficiency benchmarks. ME, PN and Penn achieved the 2011 benchmarks; however WP has been unable to provide final results because several customers are still accumulating necessary documentation for projects that may qualify for inclusion in the final results. Preliminary numbers indicate that WP did not achieve its 2011 benchmark and it is not known at this time whether WP will be subject to a fine for failure to achieve the benchmark. WP could be subject to a statutory penalty of up to $20 million and is unable to predict the outcome of this matter.
Pursuant to Act 129, the PPUC was charged with reviewing the cost effectiveness of energy efficiency and peak demand reduction programs. The PPUC found the energy efficiency programs to be cost effective and in an Order entered on August 3, 2012, the PPUC directed all of the electric utilities in Pennsylvania to submit by November 1, 2012, a Phase II EE&C Plan that would be in effect for the period June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2016. Due to Hurricane Sandy, this deadline was extended until November 15, 2012. A hearing on the level of the Pennsylvania Companies' respective Phase II energy efficiency targets as established by the PPUC was held on October 19, 2012. The PPUC denied the Pennsylvania Companies' request for adjustments to these targets on December 5, 2012. The PPUC has deferred ruling on the need to create peak demand reduction targets until it receives more information from the EE&C statewide evaluator. The Pennsylvania Companies filed their Phase II plans and supporting testimony in November 2012. On January 16, 2013, the Pennsylvania Companies reached a settlement with all but one party on all but one issue. The settlement provides for the Pennsylvania Companies to meet with interested parties to discuss ways to expand upon the EE&C programs and incorporate any such enhancements after the plans are approved, provided that these enhancements will not jeopardize the Pennsylvania Companies' compliance with their required targets or exceed the statutory spending caps. On
February 6, 2013, the Pennsylvania Companies filed revised Phase II EE&C Plans to conform the plans to the terms of the settlement. The remaining issue, raised by a natural gas company, involved the recommendation that the Pennsylvania Companies include in their plans incentives for natural gas space and water heating appliances. This issue was litigated on January 17, 2013. Initial and reply briefs were submitted on January 28, 2013 and February 6, 2013, respectively. The evidentiary record was certified on February 7, 2013, with an order on these plans expected to be issued by the PPUC no later than the end of the first quarter of 2013.
In addition, Act 129 required utilities to file a SMIP with the PPUC. In light of the significant expenditures that would be associated with its smart meter deployment plans and related infrastructure upgrades, as well as its evaluation of recent PPUC decisions approving less-rapid deployment proposals by other utilities, WP re-evaluated its Act 129 compliance strategy, including both its plans with respect to its previously approved smart meter deployment plan and certain smart meter dependent aspects of the EE&C Plan. WP proposed to decelerate its previously contemplated smart meter deployment schedule and to target the installation of approximately 25,000 smart meters in support of its EE&C Plan, based on customer requests, by mid-2012. WP also proposed to take advantage of the 30-month grace period authorized by the PPUC to continue WP's efforts to re-evaluate full-scale smart meter deployment plans. WP would be permitted to recover certain previously incurred and anticipated smart-meter related expenditures through a levelized customer surcharge, with certain expenditures amortized over a ten-year period. A joint settlement with all parties based on these terms, with one party retaining the ability to challenge the recovery of amounts spent on WP's original SMIP, was approved by the PPUC on June 30, 2011. Additionally, WP would be permitted to seek recovery of certain other costs as part of its revised SMIP or in a future base distribution rate case.
On December 31, 2012, the Pennsylvania Companies filed their Deployment Plan. A prehearing conference was held on February 19, 2013 and evidentiary hearings will commence on May 8, 2013. The Deployment Plan requests deployment over the period 2013 to 2019, with an estimated cost of completion of about $1.25 billion. Such costs are expected to be recovered through the Pennsylvania Companies' PPUC-approved Riders SMT-C.
In the PPUC Order approving the FirstEnergy and Allegheny merger, the PPUC announced that a separate statewide investigation into Pennsylvania's retail electricity market would be conducted with the goal of making recommendations for improvements to ensure that a properly functioning and workable competitive retail electricity market exists in the state. On April 29, 2011, the PPUC entered an Order initiating the investigation and requesting comments from interested parties on eleven directed questions concerning retail markets in Pennsylvania to investigate both intermediate and long term plans that could be adopted to further foster the competitive markets, and to explore the future of default service in Pennsylvania following the expiration of the upcoming DSPs on May 31, 2015. A Tentative Order was entered by the PPUC on November 8, 2012, seeking comments regarding the end state of default service and related issues. The Pennsylvania Companies and FES filed comments on December 10, 2012. A final order was issued on February 15, 2013 providing recommendations on the entities to provide default service, the products to be offered, billing options, customer education, and licensing fees and assessments, among other items.
The PPUC issued a Proposed Rulemaking Order on August 25, 2011, which proposed a number of substantial modifications to the current Code of Conduct regulations that were promulgated to provide competitive safeguards to the competitive retail electricity market in Pennsylvania. The proposed changes include, but are not limited to: an EGS may not have the same or substantially similar name as the EDC or its corporate parent; EDCs and EGSs would not be permitted to share office space and would need to occupy different buildings; EDCs and affiliated EGSs could not share employees or services, except certain corporate support, emergency, or tariff services (the definition of "corporate support services" excludes items such as information systems, electronic data interchange, strategic management and planning, regulatory services, legal services, or commodities that have been included in regulated rates at less than market value); and an EGS must enter into a trademark agreement with the EDC before using its trademark or service mark. The Proposed Rulemaking Order was published on February 11, 2012, and comments were filed by the Pennsylvania Companies and FES on March 27, 2012. If implemented these rules could require a significant change in the ways FES and the Pennsylvania Companies do business in Pennsylvania, and could possibly have an adverse impact on their results of operations and financial condition. Pennsylvania's Independent Regulatory Review Commission subsequently issued comments on the proposed rulemaking on April 26, 2012, which called for the PPUC to further justify the need for the proposed revisions by citing a lack of evidence demonstrating a need for them. The House Consumer Affairs Committee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly also sent a letter to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission on July 12, 2012, noting its opposition to the proposed regulations as modified.
West Virginia Regulatory Matters
In April 2010, MP and PE filed with the WVPSC a Joint Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement reached with the other parties in a proceeding for an annual increase in retail rates that provided for:
$40 million annualized base rate increases effective June 29, 2010;
Deferral of February 2010 storm restoration expenses over a maximum five-year period;
Additional $20 million annualized base rate increase effective in January 2011;
Decrease of $20 million in ENEC rates effective January 2011, providing for deferral of related costs for later recovery in 2012; and
Moratorium on filing for further increases in base rates before December 1, 2011, except under specified circumstances.
The WVPSC approved the Joint Petition and Agreement of Settlement in June 2010.
In February 2011, MP and PE filed a petition with the WVPSC seeking an order declaring that MP owns all RECs associated with the energy and capacity that MP is required to purchase pursuant to electric energy purchase agreements between MP and three NUG facilities in West Virginia. The City of New Martinsville and Morgantown Energy Associates, each the owner of one of the contracted resources, have participated in the case in opposition to the petition. The WVPSC issued an order on November 22, 2011, granting ownership of all RECs produced by the facilities to MP, and holding that an electric utility that purchases electric energy and capacity under an electric power purchase agreement with a Qualifying Facility under PURPA owns the RECs associated with that purchase. The RECs are being used for compliance purposes. The West Virginia Supreme Court issued an Order on June 11, 2012, upholding the WVPSC's decision. The City of New Martinsville and Morgantown Energy Associates filed petitions at FERC alleging the WVPSC order violated PURPA and requesting that FERC initiate an enforcement action. On April 24, 2012, FERC ruled that FERC jurisdictional contracts for the sale of Qualifying Facility capacity entered into under PURPA are intended to pay only for electric energy and capacity (and not for RECs), and that state law controlled on the issues of determining which entity owns RECs and how they are transferred between entities. FERC declined to act on the petitions and instead noted that the City of New Martinsville and Morgantown Energy Associates could file complaints in the U.S. District Court. FERC also noted there may be language in the WVPSC order that is inconsistent with PURPA. MP and PE filed for rehearing of FERC's order taking the position that the WVPSC order is consistent with PURPA, which was denied by FERC on September 20, 2012. The City of New Martinsville filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on June 1, 2012, alleging that the WVPSC order violates PURPA. Morgantown Energy Associates has joined in filing a similar complaint and requesting damages in the same U.S. District Court. MP and PE filed for judgment on the pleadings in both cases on January 25, 2013.
The WVPSC has proceedings for each West Virginia electric utility to establish reliability targets for distribution performance. The parties entered into a settlement in September 2012 resolving all issues and revising performance targets beginning in 2014. The settlement has been approved by the WVPSC.
The WVPSC opened a general investigation into the June 29, 2012, derecho windstorm with data requests for all utilities. A public meeting for presentations on utility responses and restoration efforts was held on October 22, 2012 and two public input hearings have been held. The WVPSC issued an Order in this matter on January 23, 2013 closing the proceeding and directing electric utilities to file a vegetation management plan within six months and to propose a cost recovery mechanism. This Order also requires MP and PE to file a status report regarding improvements to their storm response procedures by the same date.
The West Virginia ENEC fuel case was filed by MP and PE at the WVPSC in August 2012 with a projected over-recovery of approximately $66 million under then current rates for the next year, January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013. MP and PE proposed no change in overall rates on January 1, 2013; however, MP and PE proposed establishing a separate regulatory liability for the difference between the recommended 2013 ENEC rates and the current ENEC rates. This estimated $66 million liability was proposed to offset the rate relief MP and PE seek to become effective with the completion of a proposed generation resource acquisition transaction described below. A hearing was held in December 2012 in the ENEC fuel case and the WVPSC denied MP and PE's request to delay the $66 million rate decrease and ordered that the fuel rate decrease be implemented on January 1, 2013.
MP and PE filed their Resource Plan with the WVPSC in August 2012 detailing both supply and demand forecasts and noting a substantial capacity deficiency. MP and PE have filed a Petition for approval of a Generation Resource Transaction with the WVPSC in November 2012 that proposes a net ownership transfer of 1,476 MW of coal-fired generation capacity to MP by May 2013. The proposed transfer would involve MP's acquisition of the remaining ownership of the Harrison Power Station from AE Supply and the sale of MP's minority interest in the Pleasants Power Station to AE Supply. The proposed transfer would implement a cost-effective plan to assist MP in meeting its energy and capacity obligations with its own generation resources, eliminating the need to make unhedged electricity and capacity purchases from the spot market, which is expected to result in greater rate stability for MP's customers. The plan is expected to remedy MP's capacity and energy shortfalls, which are projected to worsen due to a projected increase in annual load growth of approximately 1.4%. MP and PE also filed with FERC for authorization to effect these transfers. MP and PE will file a base rate case no later than six months from the completion of the transaction. On February 11, 2013, the WVPSC issued an order adopting a procedural schedule for this matter with hearings scheduled for May 29-31, 2013.
PJM Transmission Rate
PJM and its stakeholders have been debating the proper method to allocate costs for new transmission facilities. While FirstEnergy and other parties advocated for a traditional "beneficiary pays" (or usage based) approach, others advocate for “socializing” the costs on a load-ratio share basis - each customer in the zone would pay based on its total usage of energy within PJM. This debate is framed by regulatory and court decisions. On August 6, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found that FERC had not supported a prior FERC decision to allocate costs for new 500 kV and higher voltage facilities on a load ratio share basis and, based on that finding, remanded the rate design issue to FERC. In an order dated January 21, 2010, FERC set this matter for a “paper hearing” and requested parties to submit written comments. FERC identified nine separate issues for comment and directed PJM to file the first round of comments. PJM filed certain studies with FERC on April 13, 2010, which demonstrated that allocation of the cost of high voltage transmission facilities on a beneficiary pays basis results in certain LSEs in PJM bearing the majority of the costs. Subsequently, numerous parties, including FirstEnergy, filed responsive comments or studies on May 28,
2010 and reply comments on June 28, 2010. FirstEnergy and a number of other utilities, industrial customers and state utility commissions supported the use of the beneficiary pays approach for cost allocation for high voltage transmission facilities. Other utilities and state utility commissions supported continued socialization of these costs on a load ratio share basis. On March 30, 2012, FERC issued an order on remand reaffirming its prior decision that costs for new transmission facilities that are rated at 500 kV or higher are to be collected from all transmission zones throughout the PJM footprint by means of a postage-stamp (or socialization) rate based on the amount of load served in a transmission zone and concluding that such methodology is just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential. On April 30, 2012, FirstEnergy requested rehearing of FERC's March 30, 2012 order. FirstEnergy's request for rehearing remains pending before FERC.
Order No. 1000, issued by FERC on July 21, 2011, required the submission of a compliance filing by PJM or the PJM transmission owners demonstrating that the cost allocation methodology for new transmission projects directed by the PJM Board of Managers satisfied the principles set forth in the order. To demonstrate compliance with the regional cost allocation principles of the order, the PJM transmission owners, including FirstEnergy, submitted a filing to FERC on October 11, 2012, proposing a hybrid method of 50% beneficiary pays and 50% postage stamp to be effective for RTEP projects approved by the PJM Board of Managers on and after the effective date of the compliance filing. On January 31, 2013, FERC conditionally accepted the hybrid method to be effective on February 1, 2013, subject to refund and to a future order on PJM's separate Order No. 1000 compliance filing. FERC stated that it will address the merits of the PJM transmission owners' October 11, 2012 filing, including comments, protests and answers submitted in regard thereto, in its future order on PJM's compliance filing. Filings to demonstrate compliance with the interregional cost allocation principles of the order are due to FERC by April 2013.
On June 1, 2011, ATSI and the ATSI zone transferred from MISO to PJM. The move was performed as planned with no known operational or reliability issues for ATSI or for the wholesale transmission customers in the ATSI zone. While most of the matters involved with the move have been resolved, the question of ATSI's responsibility for certain costs for the “Michigan Thumb” transmission project continues to be disputed; the details of the dispute are discussed below under "MISO Multi-Value Project Rule Proposal." In addition, FERC denied recovery of certain charges that collectively can be described as "exit fees" by means of ATSI's transmission rate totaling approximately $78.8 million until such time as ATSI submits a cost/benefit analysis that demonstrates net benefits to customers from the move. ATSI has asked for rehearing of FERC's orders that address the Michigan Thumb transmission project and the exit fee issue. On December 21, 2012, ATSI and other parties filed a proposed settlement agreement with FERC that, if accepted by FERC, should resolve certain of the exit fee issues. Thereafter, the OCC protested the December 21, 2012 settlement filing, which remains pending before FERC. In a prior order, FERC ruled that the costs for certain "legacy RTEP" transmission projects in PJM could be charged to transmission customers in the ATSI zone. ATSI sought rehearing of the question of whether the ATSI zone should pay these legacy RTEP charges and, on September 20, 2012, FERC denied ATSI's request for rehearing. On November 19, 2012, ATSI filed a petition for review with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals of FERC's ruling on the "legacy RTEP" issue.
The outcome of those proceedings that address the remaining open issues related to ATSI's move into PJM and their impact, if any, on FirstEnergy cannot be predicted at this time.
MISO Multi-Value Project Rule Proposal
In July 2010, MISO and certain MISO transmission owners (not including ATSI or FirstEnergy) jointly filed with FERC a proposed cost allocation methodology for certain new transmission projects. The new transmission projects - described as MVPs - are a class of transmission projects that are approved via MISO's MTEP process. Under MISO's proposal, the costs of “Michigan Thumb” MVP project that was approved by MISO's Board prior to the June 1, 2011 effective date of FirstEnergy's integration into PJM would continue to be allocated to and charged to ATSI. MISO estimated that approximately $16 million in annual revenue requirements associated with the Michigan Thumb Project would be allocated to the ATSI zone upon completion of project construction.
FirstEnergy has filed pleadings in opposition to the MISO's efforts to “socialize” the costs of the Michigan Thumb Project onto ATSI or onto ATSI's customers. FirstEnergy asserts legal, factual and policy arguments. To date, FERC has responded in a series of orders that may require ATSI to absorb the charges for the Michigan Thumb Project pending the outcome of further regulatory proceedings and appeals. These further proceedings can be divided into two classes: litigation related to MISO's generic MVP cost allocation proposal; and litigation related to MISO's "Schedule 39" tariff that purports to charge the MVP costs to ATSI.
On October 31, 2011, FirstEnergy filed a Petition of Review of certain of FERC's orders that address the generic MVP tariffs with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Other parties also filed appeals of those orders and, in November 2011, the cases were consolidated for briefing and disposition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Briefs were due from the parties through 2012 and early 2013, and oral arguments will be scheduled in 2013.
In February 2012, FERC accepted the MISO's proposed Schedule 39 tariff, subject to hearings and potential refund of MVP charges to ATSI. MISO's Schedule 39 tariff is the vehicle through which the MISO plans to charge the Michigan Thumb Project costs to ATSI. FERC set for hearing the question of whether it is just and reasonable for ATSI to pay the Michigan Thumb Project costs and, if so, the amount of and methodology for calculating ATSI's Michigan Thumb Project cost responsibility. The hearings are expected to start in April 2013.
FirstEnergy cannot predict the outcome of these proceedings or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
California Claims Matters
In October 2006, several California governmental and utility parties presented AE Supply with a settlement proposal to resolve alleged overcharges for power sales by AE Supply to the California Energy Resource Scheduling division of the CDWR during 2001. The settlement proposal claims that CDWR is owed approximately $190 million for these alleged overcharges. This proposal was made in the context of mediation efforts by FERC and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in several pending proceedings to resolve all outstanding refund and other claims, including claims of alleged price manipulation in the California energy markets, during 2000 and 2001. The Ninth Circuit had previously remanded one of those proceedings to FERC, which dismissed the claims of the California Parties in May 2011, and affirmed the dismissal in June 2012. On June 20, 2012, the California Parties appealed FERC's decision back to the Ninth Circuit. The timing of further action by the Ninth Circuit is unknown.
In another proceeding, in June 2009, the California Attorney General on behalf of certain California parties, filed another complaint with FERC against various sellers, including AE Supply, again seeking refunds for transactions in the California energy markets during 2000 and 2001. The above-noted transactions with CDWR are the basis for including AE Supply in this complaint. AE Supply filed a motion to dismiss, which was granted by FERC in May 2011, and affirmed by FERC in June 2012. The California Attorney General has appealed FERC's dismissal of its complaint to the Ninth Circuit, which has consolidated the case with other pending appeals related to California refund claims, and stayed the proceedings pending further order.
FirstEnergy cannot predict the outcome of either of the above matters or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
PATH Transmission Project
The PATH project was proposed to be comprised of a 765 kV transmission line from West Virginia through Virginia and into Maryland, modifications to an existing substation in Putnam County, West Virginia, and the construction of new substations in Hardy County, West Virginia and Frederick County, Maryland. PJM initially authorized construction of the PATH project in June 2007. On August 24, 2012, the PJM Board of Managers canceled the PATH project, which it had originally suspended in February 2011. All applications for authorization to construct the project filed with state commissions have been withdrawn. As a result, approximately $62 million and approximately $59 million in costs incurred by PATH-Allegheny and PATH-WV, respectively, were reclassified from net property, plant and equipment to a regulatory asset for future recovery. On September 28, 2012, those companies requested authorization from FERC to recover the costs with a proposed return on equity of 10.9% (10.4% base plus 0.5% RTO membership) from PJM customers over the next five years. Several parties protested the request. On November 30, 2012, FERC issued an order denying the 0.5% return on equity adder for RTO membership and allowing the tariff changes enabling recovery of these costs to become effective on December 1, 2012 subject to settlement judge procedures and hearing if the parties do not agree to a settlement. The issues subject to settlement include the prudence of the costs, the base return on equity and the period of recovery. Depending on the outcome of a possible settlement or hearing, if settlement is not achieved, PATH-Allegheny and PATH-WV may be required to refund certain amounts that have been collected under their formula rate.
PATH-Allegheny and PATH-WV have requested rehearing of FERC's denial of the 0.5% return on equity adder for RTO membership; that request for rehearing remains pending before FERC. In addition, FERC has consolidated for settlement judge procedures and hearing purposes two formal challenges to the PATH formula rate annual updates submitted to FERC in June 2010 and June 2011. FirstEnergy cannot predict the outcome of these matters or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
The Yards Creek Pumped Storage Project is a 400 MW hydroelectric project located in Warren County, New Jersey. JCP&L owns an undivided 50% interest in the project, and operates the project. PSEG Fossil, LLC owns the remaining interest in the plant. The project was constructed in the early 1960s, and became operational in 1965. FERC issued a license for authorization to operate the project. The existing license expires on February 28, 2013.
In February 2011, JCP&L and PSEG filed a joint application with FERC to renew the license for an additional forty years. The companies are pursuing relicensure through FERC's ILP. Under the ILP, FERC will assess the license applications, issue draft and final Environmental Assessments/Environmental Impact Studies (as required by the NEPA), and provide opportunities for intervention and protests by affected third parties. FERC may hold hearings during the five-year ILP licensure process. FirstEnergy expects FERC to issue the new license in the first quarter of 2013. To the extent that the license proceedings extend beyond the February 28, 2013 expiration date for the current license, the current license will be extended yearly as necessary to permit FERC to issue the new license.
On June 29, 2012, FERC Staff sent an 'Additional Information Request' to JCP&L. In the request, FERC Staff voiced concern about JCP&L's proposed 'fusegate' overflow structure, and asked for additional information and analysis that would support a FERC decision to authorize installation of this structure. JCP&L and FERC Staff subsequently agreed that JCP&L would install the proposed fusegate overflow structure. In spring 2012, the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office asked that JCP&L agree to additional measures to protect certain prehistoric sites that are located on the Yards Creek property. JCP&L was able to negotiate an agreement
for such protections, which was executed as of February 5, 2013. At this time, we expect that JCP&L's license application will be uncontested and that FERC will renew the license in the first quarter of 2013.
The Seneca Pumped Storage Project is a 451 MW hydroelectric project located in Warren County, Pennsylvania owned and operated by FG. FG holds the current FERC license that authorizes ownership and operation of the project. The current FERC license will expire on November 30, 2015. FERC's regulations call for a five-year relicensing process. On November 24, 2010, and acting pursuant to applicable FERC regulations and rules, FG initiated the ILP relicensing process by filing its notice of intent to relicense and related documents in the license docket.
Section 15 of the FPA contemplates that third parties may file a "competing application" to assume ownership and operation of a hydroelectric facility upon (i) relicensure and (ii) payment of net book value of the plant to the original owner/operator. On November 30, 2010, the Seneca Nation filed its notice of intent to relicense and related documents necessary for the Seneca Nation to submit a competing application. FG believes it is entitled to a statutory “incumbent preference” under Section 15 and that it ultimately should prevail in these proceedings. Nevertheless, the Seneca Nation's pleadings reflect the Nation's apparent intent to obtain the license for the facility, and to assume ownership and operation of the facility as contemplated by the statute.
The Seneca Nation and certain other intervenors have asked FERC to redefine the “project boundary” of the hydroelectric plant to include the dam and reservoir facilities operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On May 16, 2011, FirstEnergy filed a Petition for Declaratory Order with FERC seeking an order to exclude the dam and reservoir facilities from the project. The Seneca Nation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the U.S. Department of Interior each submitted responses to FirstEnergy's petition, including motions to dismiss FirstEnergy's petition. The “project boundary” issue is pending before FERC.
On September 12, 2011, FirstEnergy and the Seneca Nation each filed “Revised Study Plan” documents. These documents describe the parties' respective proposals for the scope of the environmental studies that should be performed as part of the relicensing process. On January 7, 2013, FirstEnergy and the Seneca Nation submitted their respective reports for the 2012 study season. On January 31 and February 1, 2013, respectively, the Seneca Nation and FirstEnergy each submitted their respective proposed study plans for the 2013 study season. The study processes will extend through approximately November 2013.
MISO Capacity Portability
On June 11, 2012, FERC issued a Notice of Request for Comments regarding whether existing rules on transfer capability act as barriers to the delivery of capacity between MISO and PJM. FERC is responding to suggestions from MISO and the MISO stakeholders that PJM's rules regarding the criteria and qualifications for external generation capacity resources be changed to ease participation by resources that are located in MISO in PJM's RPM capacity auctions. FirstEnergy submitted comments on August 10, 2012, and reply comments on August 27, 2012. In the fall of 2012, FirstEnergy participated in certain stakeholder meetings to review various proposals advanced by MISO. Although none of MISO's proposals attracted significant stakeholder support, on January 3, 2013, MISO filed a pleading with FERC that renewed many of the arguments advanced in prior MISO filings and asked FERC to take expedited action to address MISO's allegations. On January 18, 2013, FirstEnergy and other parties submitted filings explaining that MISO's concerns largely are without foundation and suggesting that FERC order that the remaining concerns be addressed in the existing stakeholder process that is described in the PJM/MISO Joint Operating Agreement. Changes to the criteria and qualifications for participation in the PJM RPM capacity auctions could have a significant impact on the outcome of those auctions, including a negative impact on the prices at which those auctions would clear.
On December 7, 2012, PJM filed amendments to its tariff to revise the MOPR used in the RPM. PJM revised the MOPR to add two broad, categorical exemptions, eliminate an existing exemption, and to limit the applicability of the MOPR to certain capacity resources. The filing also included related and conforming changes to the RPM posting requirements and to those provisions describing the role of the Independent Market Monitor for the PJM Region. PJM proposed an effective date for these Tariff changes of February 5, 2013. FirstEnergy submitted comments on December 28, 2012, and reply comments on January 25, 2013. FERC has not issued an order on the proposed reforms. On February 5, 2013, FERC Staff issued a deficiency letter to PJM requesting additional information on certain components of the proposed MOPR reforms, including the exemptions and resources qualifying for the MOPR. PJM has 30 days to respond to FERC Staff’s requests. Changes to the MOPR could have a significant impact on the outcome of the RPM auctions, including a negative impact on the prices at which those auctions would clear.
On December 20, 2012, FERC approved the transfer by FG to ATSI of certain deactivated generation assets associated with Eastlake Units 1 through 5 and Lakeshore Unit 18 to facilitate their conversion to synchronous condensers to provide voltage support on the ATSI transmission system. The transfer price of the assets is approximately $21.5 million and the estimated conversion cost is approximately $60 million. The transfer of Eastlake Units 4 and 5 was completed on January 31, 2013 and ATSI's completion of the conversion of those units to synchronous condensers is expected to be completed by June 1, 2013 for Eastlake Unit 5 and by December 1, 2013 for Eastlake Unit 4. The transfer of the remaining units and their conversion to synchronous condensers will
occur when the use of the units for RMR purposes is no longer required. On January 22, 2013, ATSI requested clarification or, in the alternative, rehearing with respect to a statement in the FERC order authorizing the transfer that ATSI's current formula rate does not include the accounts and components necessary to allow for recovery of the costs associated with acquisition of the transferred assets and that ATSI must make a filing under Section 205 of the FPA in order to recover those costs. ATSI believes its formula rate currently includes the necessary accounts and components to allow for such recovery and that a Section 205 filing is not required. That request for rehearing remains pending before FERC.
FTR Underfunding Complaint
In PJM, FTRs are a mechanism to hedge congestion and operate as a financial replacement for physical firm transmission service. FTRs are financially-settled instruments that entitle the holder to a stream of revenues based on the hourly congestion price differences across a specific transmission path in the PJM Day-ahead Energy Market. However, due to certain language in the PJM tariff, the funds that are set aside to pay FTRs can be diverted to other uses, resulting in “underfunding” of FTR payments. Since June of 2010, FES and AE Supply have lost more than $55 million in revenues that they are entitled to receive as FTR holders to hedge congestion costs. FES and AE Supply continue to experience significant underfunding.
On December 28, 2011, FES and AE Supply filed a complaint with FERC for the purpose of modifying certain provisions in the PJM tariff to eliminate FTR underfunding. On March 2, 2012, FERC issued an order dismissing the complaint. In its order, FERC ruled that it was not appropriate to initiate action at that time because of the unknown root causes of FTR underfunding.FERC directed PJM to convene stakeholder proceedings for the purpose of determining the root causes of the FTR underfunding. FERC went on to note that its dismissal of the complaint was without prejudice to FES and AE Supply or any other affected entity filing a complaint if the stakeholder proceedings proved unavailing. FES and AE Supply sought rehearing of FERC's order and, on July 19, 2012, FERC denied rehearing. In April, 2012, PJM issued a report on FTR underfunding. However, the PJM stakeholder process proved unavailing as the stakeholders were not willing to change the tariff to eliminate FTR underfunding. Accordingly, on February 15, 2013, FES and AE Supply refiled their complaint for the purpose of changing the PJM tariff to eliminate FTR underfunding. This complaint is pending before FERC.
Our capital spending for 2013 is expected to be approximately $2.4 billion (excluding nuclear fuel). Planned capital initiatives are intended to promote reliability, improve operations, and support current environmental and energy efficiency directives. Our capital investments for additional nuclear fuel are expected to be $205 million in 2013.
Actual capital expenditures for 2012 and anticipated expenditures for 2013, excluding nuclear fuel, are shown in the following table. Such costs include expenditures for the betterment of existing facilities and for the construction of transmission lines, distribution lines and substations, and other assets.
2012 Actual (1)(2)
(1) Includes approximately $485 million related to Hurricane Sandy, of which approximately $354 million related to JCP&L.
(2) Includes approximately $223 million related to the capitalization of mark-to-market adjustments for pensions and OPEB costs.
(3) Excludes capitalized mark-to-market adjustments for pensions and OPEB costs, which cannot be estimated.
The following table presents scheduled debt repayments for outstanding long-term debt as of December 31, 2012, excluding capital leases for the next five years. PCRBs that can be tendered for mandatory purchase prior to maturity are reflected in 2013.
Includes debt of non-registrant subsidiaries and the elimination of certain intercompany debt.
The following tables display consolidated operating lease commitments as of December 31, 2012.
Total minimum lease payments
PNBV and Shippingport purchased a portion of the lease obligation bonds associated with certain sale and leaseback transactions. These arrangements effectively reduce lease costs related to those transactions.
Total minimum lease payments
Includes certain minimum lease payments associated with NG's lessor equity interests in Perry and Beaver Valley Unit 2 that are eliminated in consolidation (see Note 5, Leases, of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
During 2012, FG acquired certain lessor equity and other interests in connection with exercising the EBO option under the 1987 Bruce Mansfield sale and leaseback transactions for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $262.2 million. Additionally, FG is continuing the appraisal process with one remaining party and is currently involved in litigation with two other parties each of which is disputing the appraisal of the fair market value of the relevant leased assets. During 2012, NG repurchased lessor equity interests in OE's existing sale and leaseback of Beaver Valley Unit 2 for $129 million.
FirstEnergy expects its existing sources of liquidity to remain sufficient to meet its anticipated obligations and those of its subsidiaries. FirstEnergy’s business is capital intensive, requiring significant resources to fund operating expenses, construction expenditures, scheduled debt maturities and interest and dividend payments. In addition to internal sources to fund liquidity and capital requirements for 2013 and beyond, FirstEnergy expects to rely on external sources of funds. Short-term cash requirements not met by cash provided from operations are generally satisfied through short-term borrowings. Long-term cash needs may be met through the issuance of long-term debt and/or equity. FirstEnergy expects that borrowing capacity under credit facilities will continue to be available to manage working capital requirements along with continued access to long-term capital markets.
FirstEnergy had $1,969 million of short-term borrowings as of December 31, 2012, and no significant short-term borrowings as of December 31, 2011. FirstEnergy’s available liquidity as of January 31, 2013, was as follows:
FES / AE Supply
FE and the Utilities.
Includes FET, ATSI and TrAIL.
FE and certain of its subsidiaries participate in three five-year syndicated revolving credit facilities with aggregate commitments of $5.5 billion (Facilities). The Facilities consist of a $2.0 billion aggregate FirstEnergy Facility, a $2.5 billion FES/AE Supply Facility and a $1.0 billion FET Facility, that are each available until May 2017, unless the lenders agree, at the request of the applicable borrowers, to up to two additional one-year extensions. Generally, borrowings under each of the Facilities are available to each borrower separately and mature on the earlier of 364 days from the date of borrowing or the commitment termination date, as the same may be extended.
Borrowings under each of the Facilities are subject to usual and customary provisions for acceleration upon the occurrence of events of default, including a cross-default for other indebtedness in excess of $100 million, as described further in Note 11, Capitalization, of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
FE’s primary source of cash for continuing operations as a holding company is cash from the operations of its subsidiaries. During 2012, FirstEnergy received $900 million of cash dividends and capital returned from its subsidiaries and paid $920 million in cash dividends to common shareholders.
As of December 31, 2012, the Ohio Companies and Penn had the aggregate capacity to issue approximately $2.5 billion of additional FMBs on the basis of property additions and retired bonds under the terms of their respective FMB indentures. The issuance of FMBs by the Ohio Companies is also subject to provisions of their senior note indentures generally limiting the incurrence of additional secured debt, subject to certain exceptions that would permit, among other things, the issuance of secured debt (including FMBs) supporting pollution control notes or similar obligations, or as an extension, renewal or replacement of previously outstanding secured debt. In addition, these provisions would permit OE to incur additional secured debt not otherwise permitted by a specified exception of up to $161 million. As a result of the indenture provisions, CEI and TE cannot incur any additional secured debt. ME and PN had the capability to issue secured debt of approximately $395 million and $404 million, respectively, under provisions of their senior note indentures as of December 31, 2012. In addition, based upon their net earnings and available bondable property additions as of December 31, 2012, MP, PE and WP had the capacity to issue approximately $1.5 billion of additional FMBs in the aggregate under the terms of their FMB indentures. The issuance of FMBs by these companies is subject to compliance with the financial covenants of the Facilities and any required regulatory approvals and may be subject to statutory and/or charter limitations.
Based upon FG’s and NG's net earnings and available bondable property additions under their FMB indentures as of December 31, 2012, FG and NG had the capacity to issue $2.0 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively, of additional FMBs under the terms of their indentures. To the extent that coverage requirements or market conditions restrict the subsidiaries’ abilities to issue desired amounts of FMBs or preferred stock, they may seek other methods of financing. Such financings could include the sale of preferred and/or preference stock or of such other types of securities as might be authorized by applicable regulatory authorities which would not otherwise be sold. These financings could result in annual interest charges and/or dividend requirements in excess of those that would otherwise be incurred.
Nuclear Operating Licenses
In August 2010, FENOC submitted an application to the NRC for renewal of the Davis-Besse operating license for an additional twenty years, until 2037. An NRC ASLB granted a hearing on the Davis-Besse license renewal application to a group of petitioners. The NRC subsequently narrowed the scope of admitted contentions in this proceeding to a challenge to the computer code used to model source terms in FENOC's SAMA analysis. On December 28, 2012, the ASLB issued two decisions that granted FENOC's motion for summary dismissal of the remaining SAMA contention and denied the Intervenors' request for a new contention on the Davis-Besse Shield Building. The ASLB declined to terminate the adjudication. In an earlier order dated August 7, 2012, the NRC stated that it will not issue final licensing decisions until it has appropriately addressed the challenges to the NRC Waste Confidence Decision and Temporary Storage Rule and all pending contentions on this topic should be held in abeyance until further order. In a September 6, 2012, staff requirements memorandum, the NRC directed the staff to publish a final rule and EIS to support an updated Waste Confidence Decision and temporary storage rule within 24 months. The ASLB has suspended further consideration of the Intervenors' proposed contention on the environmental impacts of spent fuel storage in the Davis-Besse license renewal proceeding.
The following table summarizes the current operating license expiration dates for FES' nuclear facilities in service.
Current License Expiration
Beaver Valley Unit 1
Beaver Valley Unit 2
Under NRC regulations, FirstEnergy must ensure that adequate funds will be available to decommission its nuclear facilities. As of December 31, 2012, FirstEnergy had approximately $2.2 billion invested in external trusts to be used for the decommissioning and environmental remediation of Davis-Besse, Beaver Valley, Perry and TMI-2. As required by the NRC, FirstEnergy annually recalculates and adjusts the amount of its parental guaranty, as appropriate. The values of FirstEnergy's NDT fluctuate based on market conditions. If the value of the trusts decline by a material amount, FirstEnergy's obligation to fund the trusts may increase. Disruptions in the capital markets and their effects on particular businesses and the economy could also affect the values of the NDT. FirstEnergy currently maintains a $95 million parental guaranty in support of the decommissioning of nuclear facilities which is expected to increase to approximately $135 million in 2013. In December 2012, FirstEnergy Corp. entered into an additional $11 million parental guaranty in support of the decommissioning of the spent fuel storage facilities located at its Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear facilities.
On October 1, 2011, Davis-Besse was safely shut down for a scheduled outage to install a new reactor vessel head and complete other maintenance activities. On October 10, 2011, following opening of the building for installation of the new reactor head, a sub-surface hairline crack was identified in one of the exterior architectural elements on the shield building. During investigation of the crack at the shield building opening, concrete samples and electronic testing found similar sub-surface hairline cracks in most of the building's architectural elements. FENOC's investigation also identified other sub-surface hairline cracks in the upper portion of the shield building and in the vicinity of the main steam line penetrations. A team of industry-recognized structural concrete experts and Davis-Besse engineers determined these conditions do not affect the facility's structural integrity or safety.
On December 2, 2011, the NRC issued a CAL which concluded that FENOC provided "reasonable assurance that the shield building remains capable of performing its safety functions." The CAL imposed a number of commitments from FENOC. On December 6, 2011, the Davis-Besse plant returned to service. By a letter dated November 7, 2012, the NRC concluded that FENOC satisfied all of the commitments contained in the CAL related to Davis-Besse Shield Building. FENOC continues to monitor the status of the Shield Building.
By a letter dated August 25, 2011, the NRC made a final significance determination (white) associated with a violation that occurred during the retraction of a source range monitor from the Perry reactor vessel. The NRC also placed Perry in the degraded cornerstone column (Column 3) of the NRC's Action Matrix governing the oversight of commercial nuclear reactors. As a result, the NRC staff conducted several supplemental inspections, including an inspection using Inspection Procedure 95002 to determine if the root cause and contributing causes of risk significant performance issues were understood, the extent of condition was identified, whether safety culture contributed to the performance issues, and if FENOC's corrective actions are sufficient to address the causes and prevent recurrence. On December 28, 2012, the NRC issued a report on the 95002 Inspection that concluded that FENOC "did not provide assurance that the corrective actions for performance issues associated with the Occupational Exposure Control Effectiveness PI were sufficient to address the root and contributing causes and prevent recurrence." Moreover, the NRC also concluded that FENOC "did not adequately address corrective actions for the White NOV." As a result, the NRC will hold open both a parallel PI inspection finding on the occupational exposure issues and the White finding. The NRC will conduct a future inspection to verify the effectiveness of FENOC's corrective actions. Additional adverse findings by the NRC could result in additional NRC oversight and further inspection activities.
By a letter dated January 17, 2013, the NRC notified FENOC that the Perry plant would remain in Column 3 of the action matrix for the NRC reactor oversight process. It stated that although “Perry meets the definition in Inspection Manual Chapter 0305 for Multiple/Repetitive Degraded Cornerstone, Column 4, of the Action Matrix,” current performance issues are well understood and appear to be limited to occupational radiation safety, at present and thus the regulatory actions specified for Column 3 of the Action Matrix are more appropriate. The NRC also noted that Perry would move to Column 4 if: (1) the follow-up 95002 inspection, scheduled for completion in the May-July 2013 timeframe, identifies a significant weakness in Perry's performance; (2) Perry is unable to complete corrective actions necessary to permit the follow-up 95002 inspection to be completed before the end of July 2013; or (3) if another Greater-than-Green PI or finding is identified (other than a change of color for the current Occupational Exposure Control Effectiveness PI issue). Additional adverse findings by the NRC could result in further inspection activities and/or other regulatory actions.
On March 12, 2012, the NRC issued orders requiring safety enhancements at U.S. reactors based on recommendations from the lessons learned Task Force review of the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. These orders require additional mitigation strategies for beyond-design-basis external events, and enhanced equipment for monitoring water levels in spent fuel pools. The NRC also requested that licensees including FENOC: re-analyze earthquake and flooding risks using the latest information available; conduct earthquake and flooding hazard walkdowns at their nuclear plants; assess the ability of current communications systems and equipment to perform under a prolonged loss of onsite and offsite electrical power; and assess plant staffing levels needed to fill emergency positions. These and other NRC requirements adopted as a result of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi are likely to result in additional material costs from plant modifications and upgrades at FENOC's nuclear facilities.
On February 16, 2012, the NRC issued a request for information to the licensed operators of 11 nuclear power plants, including Beaver Valley Power Station Units 1 and 2, with respect to the modeling of fuel performance as it relates to "thermal conductivity degradation," which is the potential in higher burn up fuel for reduced capacity to transfer heat that could potentially change its performance during various accident scenarios, including loss of coolant accidents. The request for information indicated that this phenomenon has not been accounted for adequately in performance models for the fuel developed by the fuel manufacturer and that the NRC might consider imposing restrictions on reactor operating limits. On March 16, 2012, FENOC submitted its response to the NRC demonstrating that the NRC requirements are being met. After a detailed review of FENOC's submittal and in a January 25, 2013 evaluation, the NRC confirmed the FENOC's evaluation model remains adequate and determined that the schedule for re-analysis was acceptable. The plant remains compliant with regulations regarding fuel parameters. FENOC also agreed to submit to the NRC revised large break loss of coolant accident analyses by December 15, 2016, that further consider the effects of fuel pellet thermal conductivity degradation.
The Price-Anderson Act limits the public liability which can be assessed with respect to a nuclear power plant to $12.6 billion (assuming 104 units licensed to operate) for a single nuclear incident, which amount is covered by: (i) private insurance amounting to $375 million; and (ii) $12.2 billion provided by an industry retrospective rating plan required by the NRC pursuant thereto. Under such retrospective rating plan, in the event of a nuclear incident at any unit in the United States resulting in losses in excess of private insurance, up to $118 million (but not more than $18 million per unit per year in the event of more than one incident) must be contributed for each nuclear unit licensed to operate in the country by the licensees thereof to cover liabilities arising out of the incident. Based on their present nuclear ownership and leasehold interests, FirstEnergy’s maximum potential assessment under these provisions would be $470 million (OE-$40 million, NG-$408 million, and TE-$22 million) per incident but not more than $70 million (OE-$6 million, NG-$61 million, and TE-$3 million) in any one year for each incident.
In addition to the public liability insurance provided pursuant to the Price-Anderson Act, FirstEnergy has also obtained insurance coverage in limited amounts for economic loss and property damage arising out of nuclear incidents. FirstEnergy is a member of NEIL, which provides coverage (NEIL I) for the extra expense of replacement power incurred due to prolonged accidental outages of nuclear units. Under NEIL I, FirstEnergy’s subsidiaries have policies, renewable yearly, corresponding to their respective nuclear interests, which provide an aggregate indemnity of up to approximately $2 billion (OE-$168 million, NG-$1.7 billion, TE-$90 million) for replacement power costs incurred during an outage after an initial 26-week waiting period. Members of NEIL I pay annual premiums and are subject to assessments if losses exceed the accumulated funds available to the insurer. FirstEnergy’s present maximum aggregate assessment for incidents at any covered nuclear facility occurring during a policy year would be approximately $14 million (OE-$1 million and NG-$13 million).
FirstEnergy is insured as to its respective nuclear interests under property damage insurance provided by NEIL to the operating company for each plant. Under these arrangements, up to $2.75 billion of coverage for decontamination costs, decommissioning costs, debris removal and repair and/or replacement of property is provided. FirstEnergy pays annual premiums for this coverage and is liable for retrospective assessments of up to approximately $69 million (OE-$6 million, NG-$61 million and TE-$2 million).
FirstEnergy intends to maintain insurance against nuclear risks as described above as long as it is available. To the extent that replacement power, property damage, decontamination, decommissioning, repair and replacement costs and other such costs arising from a nuclear incident at any of FirstEnergy’s plants exceed the policy limits of the insurance in effect with respect to that plant, to the extent a nuclear incident is determined not to be covered by FirstEnergy’s insurance policies, or to the extent such insurance becomes unavailable in the future, FirstEnergy would remain at risk for such costs.
The NRC requires nuclear power plant licensees to obtain minimum property insurance coverage of $1.06 billion or the amount generally available from private sources, whichever is less. The proceeds of this insurance are required to be used first to ensure that the licensed reactor is in a safe and stable condition and can be maintained in that condition so as to prevent any significant risk to the public health and safety. Within 30 days of stabilization, the licensee is required to prepare and submit to the NRC a cleanup plan for approval. The plan is required to identify all cleanup operations necessary to decontaminate the reactor sufficiently to permit the resumption of operations or to commence decommissioning. Any property insurance proceeds not already expended to place the reactor in a safe and stable condition must be used first to complete those decontamination operations that are ordered by the NRC. FirstEnergy is unable to predict what effect these requirements may have on the availability of insurance proceeds.
Various federal, state and local authorities regulate FirstEnergy with regard to air and water quality and other environmental matters. Compliance with environmental regulations could have a material adverse effect on FirstEnergy's earnings and competitive position to the extent that FirstEnergy competes with companies that are not subject to such regulations and, therefore, do not bear the risk of costs associated with compliance, or failure to comply, with such regulations.
FirstEnergy is required to meet federally-approved SO2 and NOx emissions regulations under the CAA. FirstEnergy complies with SO2 and NOx reduction requirements under the CAA and SIP(s) by burning lower-sulfur fuel, utilizing combustion controls and post-combustion controls, generating more electricity from lower or non-emitting plants and/or using emission allowances.
In July 2008, three complaints representing multiple plaintiffs were filed against FG in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania seeking damages based on air emissions from the coal-fired Bruce Mansfield Plant. Two of these complaints also seek to enjoin the Bruce Mansfield Plant from operating except in a “safe, responsible, prudent and proper manner.” One complaint was filed on behalf of twenty-one individuals and the other is a class action complaint seeking certification as a class with the eight named plaintiffs as the class representatives. FG believes the claims are without merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against the allegations made in these complaints, but, at this time, is unable to predict the outcome of this matter or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
In December 2007, the states of New Jersey and Connecticut filed CAA citizen suits in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleging NSR violations at the coal-fired Portland Generation Station against GenOn Energy, Inc. (formerly RRI Energy, Inc. and the current owner and operator), Sithe Energy (the purchaser of the Portland Station from ME in 1999) and ME. Specifically, these suits allege that “modifications” at Portland Units 1 and 2 occurred between 1980 and 2005 without pre-construction NSR permitting in violation of the CAA's PSD program, and seek injunctive relief, penalties, attorney fees and mitigation of the harm caused by excess emissions. The Court dismissed New Jersey's and Connecticut's claims for injunctive relief against ME, but denied ME's motion to dismiss the claims for civil penalties. In February 2012, GenOn announced its plans to deactivate the Portland Station in January 2015 citing EPA emissions limits and compliance schedules to reduce SO2 air emissions by approximately 81% at the Portland Station by January 6, 2015. On July 27, 2012, FirstEnergy filed a motion for summary judgment arguing the Plaintiff's remaining claims for civil penalties are barred by the statute of limitations. On November 1, 2012, the other defendants and the plaintiffs filed motions for summary judgment regarding various claims. On February 22, 2013, the Court heard oral argument on the motions for summary judgment and a jury trial regarding liability was set for April 23, 2013. The parties dispute the scope of ME's indemnity obligation to and from Sithe Energy. FirstEnergy believes the claims are without merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against the allegations made in these complaints, but, at this time, is unable to predict the outcome of this matter or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
In January 2009, the EPA issued a NOV to GenOn Energy, Inc. alleging NSR violations at the coal-fired Portland Generation Station based on “modifications” dating back to 1986. The NOV also alleged NSR violations at the Keystone and Shawville coal-fired plants based on “modifications” dating back to 1984. ME, JCP&L and PN, as former owners of the facilities, are unable to predict the outcome of this matter or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
In January 2011, the U.S. DOJ filed a complaint against PN in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania seeking injunctive relief against PN based on alleged “modifications” at the coal-fired Homer City generating plant during 1991 to 1994 without pre-construction NSR permitting in violation of the CAA's PSD and Title V permitting programs. The complaint was also filed against the former co-owner, NYSEG, and various current owners of Homer City, including EME Homer City Generation L.P. and affiliated companies, including Edison International. In addition, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the states of New Jersey and New York intervened and filed separate complaints regarding Homer City seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties. In October 2011, the Court dismissed all of the claims with prejudice of the U.S. DOJ and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the states of New Jersey and New York against all of the defendants, including PN. In December 2011, the U.S., the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the states of New Jersey and New York all filed notices appealing to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals which has scheduled oral argument on May 17, 2013. PN believes the claims are without merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against the allegations made in these complaints. The parties dispute the scope of NYSEG's and PN's indemnity obligation to and from Edison International. PN is unable to predict the outcome of this matter or estimate the loss or possible range of loss.
In August 2009, the EPA issued a Finding of Violation and NOV alleging violations of the CAA and Ohio regulations, including the PSD, NNSR and Title V regulations, at the Eastlake, Lakeshore, Bay Shore and Ashtabula coal-fired plants. The EPA's NOV alleges equipment replacements during maintenance outages dating back to 1990 triggered the pre-construction permitting requirements under the PSD and NNSR programs. In June 2011, EPA issued another Finding of Violation and NOV alleging violations of the CAA and Ohio regulations, specifically opacity limitations and requirements to continuously operate opacity monitoring systems at the Eastlake, Lakeshore, Bay Shore and Ashtabula coal-fired plants. FG intends to comply with the CAA and Ohio regulations; but, at this time, is unable to predict the outcome of this matter or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
In August 2000, AE received an information request pursuant to section 114(a) of the CAA from the EPA requesting that it provide information and documentation relevant to the operation and maintenance of the following ten coal-fired plants, which collectively include 22 electric generation units: Albright, Armstrong, Fort Martin, Harrison, Hatfield's Ferry, Mitchell, Pleasants, Rivesville, R. Paul Smith and Willow Island to determine compliance with the NSR provisions under the CAA, which can require the installation
of additional air emission control equipment when a major modification of an existing facility results in an increase in emissions. In September 2007, AE received a NOV from the EPA alleging NSR and PSD violations under the CAA, as well as Pennsylvania and West Virginia state laws at the coal-fired Hatfield's Ferry and Armstrong plants in Pennsylvania and the coal-fired Fort Martin and Willow Island plants in West Virginia. On June 29, 2012 and January 31, 2013, EPA issued additional CAA section 114 requests for the Harrison coal-fired plant seeking information and documentation relevant to its operation and maintenance, including capital projects undertaken since 2007. AE intends to comply with the CAA but, at this time, is unable to predict the outcome of this matter or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
In June 2005, the PA DEP and the Attorneys General of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland filed suit against AE, AE Supply and the Allegheny Utilities in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania alleging, among other things, that Allegheny performed major modifications in violation of the PSD provisions of the CAA and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act at the coal-fired Hatfield's Ferry, Armstrong and Mitchell Plants in Pennsylvania. A non-jury trial on liability only was held in September 2010. The parties are awaiting a decision from the District Court, but there is no deadline for that decision. FirstEnergy is unable to predict the outcome or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
National Ambient Air Quality Standards
The EPA's CAIR requires reductions of NOx and SO2 emissions in two phases (2009/2010 and 2015), ultimately capping SO2 emissions in affected states to 2.5 million tons annually and NOx emissions to 1.3 million tons annually. In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided that CAIR violated the CAA but allowed CAIR to remain in effect to “temporarily preserve its environmental values” until the EPA replaces CAIR with a new rule consistent with the Court's decision. In July 2011, the EPA finalized CSAPR, to replace CAIR, requiring reductions of NOx and SO2 emissions in two phases (2012 and 2014), ultimately capping SO2 emissions in affected states to 2.4 million tons annually and NOx emissions to 1.2 million tons annually. CSAPR allows trading of NOx and SO2 emission allowances between power plants located in the same state and interstate trading of NOx and SO2 emission allowances with some restrictions. On December 30, 2011, CSAPR was stayed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was ultimately vacated by the Court on August 21, 2012. On January 24, 2013, EPA and intervenors' petitions seeking rehearing or rehearing en banc were denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Court has ordered EPA to continue administration of CAIR until it finalizes a valid replacement for CAIR. Depending on the outcome of these proceedings and how any final rules are ultimately implemented, FG's and AE Supply's future cost of compliance may be substantial and changes to FirstEnergy's operations may result.
Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions
On December 21, 2011, the EPA finalized the MATS imposing emission limits for mercury, PM, and HCL for all existing and new coal-fired electric generating units effective in April 2015 with averaging of emissions from multiple units located at a single plant. Under the CAA, state permitting authorities can grant an additional compliance year through April 2016, as needed, including instances when necessary to maintain reliability where electric generating units are being closed. On December 28, 2012, the WVDEP granted a conditional exemption through April 16, 2016 for MATS compliance at the Fort Martin, Harrison and Pleasants Power stations. In addition, an EPA enforcement policy document contemplates up to an additional year to achieve compliance, through April 2017, under certain circumstances for reliability critical units. MATS has been challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by various entities, including FirstEnergy's challenge of the PM emission limit imposed on petroleum coke boilers, such as Bay Shore Unit 1. FirstEnergy and other entities have also petitioned EPA to reconsider and revise various regulatory requirements under MATS. Depending on the outcome of these proceedings and how the MATS are ultimately implemented, FirstEnergy's future cost of compliance with MATS is estimated to be approximately $975 million.
As of September 1, 2012, Albright, Armstrong, Bay Shore Units 2-4, Eastlake Units 4-5, R. Paul Smith, Rivesville and Willow Island have been deactivated. On April 25, 2012, PJM concluded its initial analysis of the reliability impacts from the previously announced plant deactivations and requested RMR arrangements for Eastlake Units 1-3, Ashtabula Unit 5 and Lake Shore Unit 18 through the spring of 2015. During the year ended December 31, 2012, FirstEnergy recognized pre-tax severance expense of approximately $14 million ($10 million by FES) as a result of deactivations. These costs are included in "other operating expenses" in the Consolidated Statements of Income.
FirstEnergy has various long-term coal transportation agreements, some of which run through 2025 and certain of which are related to the plants described above. Penalties for delivery shortfalls for 2012 under those agreements are approximately $60 million unless, as we believe, those delivery shortfalls are excused by the force majeure provisions of those agreements. However, if we fail to reach a resolution with the counterparties and were it ultimately determined that the force majeure provisions do not excuse those delivery shortfalls, our results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely impacted.
There are a number of initiatives to reduce GHG emissions under consideration at the federal, state and international level. At the federal level, members of Congress have introduced several bills seeking to reduce emissions of GHG in the United States, and the House of Representatives passed one such bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, in June 2009. Certain states, primarily the northeastern states participating in the RGGI and western states led by California, have coordinated efforts to develop regional strategies to control emissions of certain GHGs.
In September 2009, the EPA finalized a national GHG emissions collection and reporting rule that required FirstEnergy to measure and report GHG emissions commencing in 2010. In December 2009, the EPA released its final “Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act.” The EPA's finding concludes that concentrations of several key GHGs increase the threat of climate change and may be regulated as “air pollutants” under the CAA. In April 2010, the EPA finalized new GHG standards for model years 2012 to 2016 passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles and clarified that GHG regulation under the CAA would not be triggered for electric generating plants and other stationary sources until January 2, 2011, at the earliest. In May 2010, the EPA finalized new thresholds for GHG emissions that define when NSR pre-construction permits would be required including an emissions applicability threshold of 75,000 tons per year of CO2 equivalents for existing facilities under the CAA's PSD program.
At the international level, the Kyoto Protocol, signed by the U.S. in 1998 but never submitted for ratification by the U.S. Senate, was intended to address global warming by reducing the amount of man-made GHG, including CO2, emitted by developed countries by 2012. A December 2009 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen did not reach a consensus on a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, but did take note of the Copenhagen Accord, a non-binding political agreement that recognized the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below two degrees Celsius; includes a commitment by developed countries to provide funds, approaching $30 billion over three years with a goal of increasing to $100 billion by 2020; and establishes the “Green Climate Fund” to support mitigation, adaptation, and other climate-related activities in developing countries. To the extent that they have become a party to the Copenhagen Accord, developed economies, such as the European Union, Japan, Russia and the United States, would commit to quantified economy-wide emissions targets from 2020, while developing countries, including Brazil, China and India, would agree to take mitigation actions, subject to their domestic measurement, reporting and verification. A December 2011 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, established a negotiating process to develop a new post-2020 climate change protocol, called the “Durban Platform for Enhanced Action”. This negotiating process contemplates developed countries, as well as developing countries such as China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, to undertake legally binding commitments post-2020. In addition, certain countries agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol for a second commitment period, commencing in 2013 and expiring in 2018 or 2020.
FirstEnergy cannot currently estimate the financial impact of climate change policies, although potential legislative or regulatory programs restricting CO2 emissions, or litigation alleging damages from GHG emissions, could require significant capital and other expenditures or result in changes to its operations. The CO2 emissions per KWH of electricity generated by FirstEnergy is lower than many of its regional competitors due to its diversified generation sources, which include low or non-CO2 emitting gas-fired and nuclear generators.
Clean Water Act
Various water quality regulations, the majority of which are the result of the federal CWA and its amendments, apply to FirstEnergy's plants. In addition, the states in which FirstEnergy operates have water quality standards applicable to FirstEnergy's operations.
In 2004, the EPA established new performance standards under Section 316(b) of the CWA for reducing impacts on fish and shellfish from cooling water intake structures at certain existing electric generating plants. The regulations call for reductions in impingement mortality (when aquatic organisms are pinned against screens or other parts of a cooling water intake system) and entrainment (which occurs when aquatic life is drawn into a facility's cooling water system). In 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit invalidated portions of the Section 316(b) performance standards and the EPA has taken the position that until further rulemaking occurs, permitting authorities should continue the existing practice of applying their best professional judgment to minimize impacts on fish and shellfish from cooling water intake structures. In April 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed one significant aspect of the Second Circuit's opinion and decided that Section 316(b) of the CWA authorizes the EPA to compare costs with benefits in determining the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact at cooling water intake structures. On March 28, 2011, the EPA released a new proposed regulation under Section 316(b) of the CWA to reduce fish impingement to a 12% annual average and determine site-specific controls, if any, to reduce entrainment of aquatic life following studies to be provided to permitting authorities. In July 2012, the period for finalizing the Section 316(b) regulation was extended to July 27, 2013. FirstEnergy is studying various control options and their costs and effectiveness, including pilot testing of reverse louvers in a portion of the Bay Shore power plant's water intake channel to divert fish away from the plant's water intake system. Depending on the results of such studies and the EPA's further rulemaking and any final action taken by the states exercising best professional judgment, the future costs of compliance with these standards may require material capital expenditures.
In April 2011, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland, Ohio advised FG that it is no longer considering prosecution under the CWA and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for three petroleum spills at the Edgewater, Lakeshore and Bay Shore plants which occurred on November 1, 2005, January 26, 2007 and February 27, 2007. On January 10, 2013, EPA posted for a 30-day public comment period executed Consent Agreements and unexecuted Final Orders requiring payment of a $125,000 civil penalty and the transfer of 195 acres of wetlands to a nature conservancy to resolve potential liabilities for the three petroleum spills at the Edgewater, Lakeshore and Bay Shore plants. Following consideration of public comments, EPA will take action on the Final Orders.
In October 2009, the WVDEP issued an NPDES water discharge permit for the Fort Martin Plant, which imposes TDS, sulfate concentrations and other effluent limitations for heavy metals, as well as temperature limitations. Concurrent with the issuance of the Fort Martin NPDES permit, WVDEP also issued an administrative order setting deadlines for MP to meet certain of the effluent
limits that were effective immediately under the terms of the NPDES permit. MP appealed, and a stay of certain conditions of the NPDES permit and order have been granted pending a final decision on the appeal and subject to WVDEP moving to dissolve the stay. The Fort Martin NPDES permit could require an initial capital investment in excess of $150 million in order to install technology to meet the TDS and sulfate limits, which technology may also meet certain of the other effluent limits. Additional technology may be needed to meet certain other limits in the Fort Martin NPDES permit. MP intends to vigorously pursue these issues but cannot predict the outcome of these appeals or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
In December 2010, PA DEP submitted its CWA 303(d) list to the EPA with a recommended sulfate impairment designation for an approximately 68 mile stretch of the Monongahela River north of the West Virginia border. In May 2011, the EPA agreed with PA DEP's recommended sulfate impairment designation. PA DEP's goal is to submit a final water quality standards regulation, incorporating the sulfate impairment designation for EPA approval by May 2013. PA DEP will then need to develop a TMDL limit for the river, a process that will take approximately five years. Based on the stringency of the TMDL, AE Supply may incur significant costs to reduce sulfate discharges into the Monongahela River from the coal-fired Hatfield's Ferry and Mitchell Plants in Pennsylvania and the coal-fired Fort Martin Plant in West Virginia.
In May 2011, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and the Sierra Club filed a CWA citizen suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia alleging violations of arsenic limits in the NPDES water discharge permit for the fly ash impoundments at the Albright Station seeking unspecified civil penalties and injunctive relief. In June 2011, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and the Sierra Club served a 60-day Notice of Intent required prior to filing a citizen suit under the CWA for alleged failure to obtain a permit to construct the fly ash impoundments at the Albright Plant. MP filed an answer on July 11, 2011, and a motion to stay the proceedings on July 13, 2011. In April 2012, the parties reached a settlement to resolve these CWA citizen suit claims for an immaterial amount. On August 14, 2012, a Consent Decree was entered by the Court resolving these claims. MP is currently seeking relief from the arsenic limits through a WVDEP agency review.
FirstEnergy intends to vigorously defend against the CWA matters described above but, except as indicated above, cannot predict their outcomes or estimate the possible loss or range of loss.
Regulation of Waste Disposal
Federal and state hazardous waste regulations have been promulgated as a result of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, as amended, and the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. Certain fossil-fuel combustion residuals, such as coal ash, were exempted from hazardous waste disposal requirements pending the EPA's evaluation of the need for future regulation.
In December 2009, in an advance notice of public rulemaking, the EPA asserted that the large volumes of coal combustion residuals produced by electric utilities pose significant financial risk to the industry. In May 2010, the EPA proposed two options for additional regulation of coal combustion residuals, including the option of regulation as a special waste under the EPA's hazardous waste management program which could have a significant impact on the management, beneficial use and disposal of coal combustion residuals. On July 27, 2012, the PA DEP filed a complaint against FG in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania with claims under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Pennsylvania's Solid Waste Management Act regarding the LBR CCB Impoundment and simultaneously proposed a Consent Decree between PA DEP and FG to resolve those claims. On December 14, 2012, a modified Consent Decree that addresses public comments received by PA DEP was entered by the court, requiring FG to conduct monitoring, studies and submit a closure plan to the PA DEP, no later than March 31, 2013, and discontinue disposal to LBR as currently permitted by December 31, 2016. The modified Consent Decree also requires payment of civil penalties of $800,000 to resolve claims under the Solid Waste Management Act. On January 23, 2013, FG announced a plan to ship the CCBs from the Bruce Mansfield Plant to the LaBelle coal mine reclamation project. On February 1, 2013, FG submitted a Feasibility Study analyzing various technical issues relevant to the closure of LBR. The Feasibility Study estimated that viable options for placing a final cap over LBR would require between 6 to 16 years with an estimated cost ranging from $78 million to $224 million. The Bruce Mansfield Plant is pursuing several options for its CCBs following December 31, 2016, including beneficial use of CCBs for mine reclamation in LaBelle, Pennsylvania. On December 20, 2012, the Environmental Integrity Project and others served FG with a citizen suit notice alleging CWA and PA Clean Streams Law Violations at LBR. At least 60 days must pass before a complaint can be filed.
FirstEnergy's future cost of compliance with any coal combustion residuals regulations that may be promulgated could be substantial and would depend, in part, on the regulatory action taken by the EPA and implementation by the EPA or the states. Compliance with those regulations could have an adverse impact on FirstEnergy's results of operations and financial condition.
Certain of FirstEnergy's utilities have been named as potentially responsible parties at waste disposal sites, which may require cleanup under the CERCLA. Allegations of disposal of hazardous substances at historical sites and the liability involved are often unsubstantiated and subject to dispute; however, federal law provides that all potentially responsible parties for a particular site may be liable on a joint and several basis. Environmental liabilities that are considered probable have been recognized on the Consolidated Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2012, based on estimates of the total costs of cleanup, FE's and its subsidiaries' proportionate responsibility for such costs and the financial ability of other unaffiliated entities to pay. Total liabilities of approximately $124 million (including $88 million applicable to JCP&L) have been accrued through December 31, 2012. Included in the total are accrued liabilities of approximately $81 million for environmental remediation of former manufactured gas plants and gas holder
facilities in New Jersey, which are being recovered by JCP&L through a non-bypassable SBC. FirstEnergy or its subsidiaries could be found potentially responsible for additional amounts or additional sites, but the possible losses or range of losses cannot be determined or reasonably estimated at this time.
FirstEnergy currently has long-term coal contracts with various terms to acquire approximately 27.3 million tons of coal for the year 2013 which is approximately 86% of its estimated 2013 coal requirements of 32.1 million tons. This contract coal is produced primarily from mines located in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Montana and Wyoming. The contracts expire at various times through December 31, 2030. See “Environmental Matters - Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions” for information regarding deactivations of certain coal-fired generating units in response to increased environmental regulations and the impact on certain coal transportation contracts.
FirstEnergy has contracts for all uranium requirements through 2014 and a portion of uranium material requirements through 2024. Conversion services contracts fully cover requirements through 2015 and partially fill requirements through 2024. Enrichment services are contracted for essentially all of the enrichment requirements for nuclear fuel through 2020. A portion of enrichment requirements is also contracted for through 2024. Fabrication services for fuel assemblies are contracted for both Beaver Valley units through 2013 and Davis-Besse through 2025 and through the current operating license period for Perry. In addition to the existing commitments, FirstEnergy intends to make additional arrangements for the supply of uranium and for the subsequent conversion, enrichment, fabrication, and waste disposal services.
On-site spent fuel storage facilities are expected to be adequate for Beaver Valley Unit 1 through 2014. Davis-Besse has adequate storage through 2017. FENOC is taking actions to extend the spent fuel storage capacity for Beaver Valley Units 1 and 2 and Perry. Plant modifications to increase the storage capacity of the existing spent fuel storage pool at Beaver Valley Unit 2 were approved by the NRC on April 29, 2011 and the plant modifications are expected to be complete in 2013. Once this expansion is complete, Beaver Valley Unit 2 will have spent fuel pool storage capacity through 2022. Dry fuel storage is also being pursued at Beaver Valley with completion projected by the end of 2014. Perry dry fuel storage facilities have been completed with the initial dry fuel storage loading campaign completed in December 2012. Both Beaver Valley Unit 2 and Perry maintain sufficient fuel storage capability to continue operations through the targeted completion dates of their respective storage expansion projects. After current on-site storage capacity at the plants is exhausted, additional storage capacity will have to be obtained either through plant modifications, interim off-site disposal, or permanent waste disposal facilities.
The Federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 provided for the construction of facilities for the permanent disposal of high-level nuclear wastes, including spent fuel from nuclear power plants operated by electric utilities. NG has contracts with the DOE for the disposal of spent fuel for Beaver Valley, Davis-Besse and Perry. Yucca Mountain was approved in 2002 as a repository for underground disposal of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants and high level waste from U.S. defense programs. The DOE submitted the license application for Yucca Mountain to the NRC on June 3, 2008. On March 3, 2010, the DOE filed a motion to withdraw its Yucca Mountain license application with prejudice. The ASLB denied the DOE's withdrawal motion on June 29, 2010. On September 9, 2011, the NRC issued an Order (CLI-11-07) stating that it was evenly divided on whether to overturn or uphold the ASLB's decision, and directing the ASLB to complete all necessary and appropriate case management activities by the close of the fiscal year. The current Administration has stated the Yucca Mountain repository will not be completed. In light of this uncertainty, FirstEnergy intends to make additional arrangements for storage capacity as a contingency for the continuing delays of the DOE acceptance of spent fuel for disposal.
Fuel oil and natural gas are used primarily to fuel combustion turbine units, peaking units and/or to ignite the burners prior to burning coal when a coal-fired plant is restarted. Fuel oil requirements have historically been low and are forecasted to remain so. Requirements are expected to average approximately 4 million gallons per year over the next five years. Natural gas is currently consumed primarily by combustion turbine units and peaking units, and demand is forecasted at less than 7 million mcf in 2013.
The 2012 maximum hourly demand for each of the Utilities was:
OE—5,809 MW on July 17, 2012;
Penn—923 MW on July 17, 2012;
CEI—4,337 MW on July 17, 2012;
TE—2,445 MW on July 17, 2012;
JCP&L—6,190 MW on July 18, 2012;
ME—3,036 MW on July 18, 2012;
PN—2,852 MW on July 18, 2012;
MP—1,848 MW on June 29, 2012;
PE—2,872 MW on June 29, 2012; and
WP—3,804 MW on June 29, 2012
Regulated Commodity Sourcing
Certain of the Utilities have default service obligations to provide power to non-shopping customers who have elected to continue to receive service under regulated retail tariffs. The volume of these sales can vary depending on the level of shopping that occurs. Supply plans vary by state and by service territory. JCP&L’s default service or BGS supply is secured through a statewide competitive procurement process approved by the NJBPU. Default service for the Ohio Companies, Pennsylvania Companies and PE's Maryland jurisdiction are provided through a competitive procurement process approved by the PUCO (under the ESP), PPUC (under the DSP) and MDPSC (under the SOS), respectively. If any supplier fails to deliver power to any one of those Utilities’ service areas, the Utility serving that area may need to procure the required power in the market in their role as a LSE. West Virginia electric generation continues to be regulated by the WVPSC.
Unregulated Commodity Sourcing
The Competitive Energy Services segment, through FES and AE Supply, provides energy and energy related services, including the generation and sale of electricity and energy planning and procurement through retail and wholesale competitive supply arrangements. FES and AE Supply provide the power requirements of their competitive load-serving obligations through a combination of subsidiary-owned generation, non-affiliated contracts and spot market transactions.
FES and AE Supply have retail and wholesale competitive load-serving obligations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey, serving both affiliated and non-affiliated companies. FES and AE Supply provide energy products and services to customers under various POLR, shopping, competitive-bid and non-affiliated contractual obligations. Geographically, most of FES’ and AE Supply's obligations are in the PJM market area where all of their respective generation facilities are located.
All of FirstEnergy's facilities are located within PJM and operate under the reliability oversight of a regional entity known as RFC. This regional entity operates under the oversight of the NERC in accordance with a Delegation Agreement approved by FERC. RFC began operations under the NERC on January 1, 2006. On July 20, 2006, the NERC was certified by FERC as the ERO in the United States pursuant to Section 215 of the FPA and RFC was certified as a regional entity.
As a result of actions taken by state legislative bodies, major changes in the electric utility business have occurred in portions of the United States, including Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, where most of FirstEnergy utility subsidiaries operate. These changes have altered the way traditional integrated utilities conduct their business. FirstEnergy has aligned its business units to participate in the competitive electricity marketplace (see Management's Discussion and Analysis for more information regarding FirstEnergy's Competitive Energy Services segment).
FirstEnergy's Competitive Energy Services segment participates in deregulated energy markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Illinois, through FES and AE Supply. In these markets, the Competitive Energy Services segment competes: (1) to provide retail generation service directly to end users; (2) to provide wholesale generation service to utilities, municipalities and co-operatives, which, in turn, resell to end users, and (3) in the wholesale market.
The sale of electric power is generally a seasonal business and weather patterns can have a material impact on FirstEnergy’s operating results. Demand for electricity in our service territories historically peaks during the summer and winter months, with market prices also generally peaking at those times. Accordingly, FirstEnergy’s annual results of operations and liquidity position may depend disproportionately on its operating performance during the summer and winter. Mild weather conditions may result in lower power sales and consequently lower earnings.
Research and Development
The Utilities, FES, FG and FENOC participate in the funding of EPRI, which was formed for the purpose of expanding electric R&D under the voluntary sponsorship of the nation’s electric utility industry — public, private and cooperative. Its goal is to mutually benefit utilities and their customers by promoting the development of new and improved technologies to help the utility industry meet present and future electric energy needs in environmentally and economically acceptable ways. EPRI conducts research on all aspects of electric power production and use, including fuels, generation, delivery, energy management and conservation,
environmental effects and energy analysis. The majority of EPRI’s R&D projects are directed toward practical solutions and their applications to problems currently facing the electric utility industry.
FirstEnergy participates in other initiatives with industry R&D consortiums and universities to address technology needs for its various business units. Participation in these consortiums helps the company address research needs in areas such as plant operations and maintenance, major component reliability, environmental controls, advanced energy technologies, and transmission and distribution system infrastructure to improve performance, and develop new technologies for advanced energy and grid applications.
Executive Officers as of February 25, 2013
Positions Held During Past Five Years
A. J. Alexander
President and Chief Executive Officer (A)(B)
Chief Executive Officer (F)
President and Chief Executive Officer (H)
L. M. Cavalier
Senior Vice President, Human Resources (B)
Senior Vice President, Human Resources (H)
M. T. Clark
Executive Vice President, Finance and Strategy (A)(B)(C)(D)(E)(F)(H)(I)(J)(K)(L)
President and Chief Financial Officer (G)
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (A)(B)(C)(D)(E)(F)(L)
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (H)(I)(J)(K)
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (G)
Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning & Operations (A)(B)
Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning & Operations (B)
M. J. Dowling
Senior Vice President, External Affairs (B)(H)
Vice President, External Affairs (B)
Vice President, Communications (B)
Vice President, Governmental Affairs (B)
B. L. Gaines
Senior Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Information Officer (B)(H)
Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Information Officer (B)(H)
Vice President, Shared Services, Administration and Chief Information Officer (B)
Vice President, Information Technology and Corporate Security and Chief Information Officer (B)
C. E. Jones
Senior Vice President & President, FirstEnergy Utilities (H)
Senior Vice President & President, FirstEnergy Utilities (B)
Senior Vice President & President, FirstEnergy Utilities (A)
Senior Vice President, Energy Delivery & Customer Service (B)
Senior Vice President (C)(D)
J. H. Lash
President, FE Generation (B)(H)
Chief Nuclear Officer (F)
President and Chief Nuclear Officer (F)
President, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (B)
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (F)
J. F. Pearson
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (A)(B)(C)(D)(E)(F)(G)(H)(I)(J)(K)(L)
Senior Vice President and Treasurer (A)(B)(C)(D)(E)(F)(G)(H)(I)(J)(K)(L)
Vice President and Treasurer (A)(B)(C)(D)(E)(F)(L)
Vice President and Treasurer (G)(H)(I)(J)(K)
D. R. Schneider
Senior Vice President, Energy Delivery & Customer Service (B)
Senior Vice President (C)(D)
L. L. Vespoli
Executive Vice President and General Counsel (A)(B)(C)(D)(E)(F)(L)
Executive Vice President and General Counsel (G)(H)(I)(J)(K)
Senior Vice President and General Counsel (A)(B)(C)(D)(E)(F)(L)
H. L. Wagner
Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer (A)
Vice President and Controller (C)(D)(E)(F)(L)
Vice President and Controller (G)(I)(J)(K)
Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer (H)
Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer (B)
Vice President and Controller (B)
* Indicates position held at least since January 1, 2008
(E) Denotes executive officer of FES
(J) Denotes executive officer of MP, PE and WP
(A) Denotes executive officer of FE
(F) Denotes executive officer of FENOC
(K) Denotes executive officer of TrAIL
(B) Denotes executive officer of FESC
(G) Denotes executive officer of AE
(L) Denotes executive officer of FE Generation
(C) Denotes executive officer of OE, CEI and TE
(H) Denotes executive officer of AESC
(D) Denotes executive officer of ME, PN and Penn
(I) Denotes executive officer of AGC
The following are the Executive Officers of JCP&L: M.A. Barwood, Controller since 2012 (age 55); D. M. Lynch, President since 2009 (age 58); E.J. Udovich, Corporate Secretary since 2008 (age 57); W. Wang, Treasurer since 2012 (age 41).
As of December 31, 2012, FirstEnergy’s subsidiaries had 16,495 employees located in the United States as follows:
As of December 31, 2012, the IBEW, the UWUA and the OPEIU unions collectively represented approximately 48% of FirstEnergy's total employees. There are various collective bargaining agreements between FirstEnergy's subsidiaries and these unions with three to five year terms. There are seven agreements that cover approximately 2,850 bargaining unit employees that expire in 2013.
FirstEnergy Web Site
Each of the registrants’ Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed with or furnished to the SEC pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 are also made available free of charge on or through FirstEnergy’s Internet web site at www.firstenergycorp.com.
These reports are posted on the web site as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with the SEC. Additionally, the registrants routinely post important information on FirstEnergy’s Internet web site and recognize FirstEnergy’s Internet web site as a channel of distribution to reach public investors and as a means of disclosing material non-public information for complying with disclosure obligations under SEC Regulation FD. Information contained on FirstEnergy’s Internet web site shall not be deemed incorporated into, or to be part of, this report.
We operate in a business environment that involves significant risks, many of which are beyond our control. Management of each Registrant regularly evaluates the most significant risks of the Registrants' businesses and reviews those risks with the FirstEnergy Board of Directors or appropriate Committees of the Board. The following risk factors and all other information contained in this report should be considered carefully when evaluating FirstEnergy. These risk factors could affect our financial results and cause such results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of us. Below, we have identified risks we currently consider material. Additional information on risk factors is included in “Item 1. Business” and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Registrant and Subsidiaries” and in other sections of this Form 10-K that include forward-looking and other statements involving risks and uncertainties that could impact our business and financial results.
Risks Related to Business Operations
Risks Arising from the Reliability of Our Power Plants and Transmission and Distribution Equipment
Operation of generation, transmission and distribution facilities involves risk, including the risk of potential breakdown or failure of equipment or processes due to aging infrastructure, fuel supply or transportation disruptions, accidents, labor disputes or work stoppages by employees, acts of terrorism or sabotage, construction delays or cost overruns, shortages of or delays in obtaining equipment, material and labor, operational restrictions resulting from environmental requirements and governmental interventions, and performance below expected levels. In addition, weather-related incidents and other natural disasters can disrupt generation, transmission and distribution delivery systems. Because our transmission facilities are interconnected with those of third parties,
the operation of our facilities could be adversely affected by unexpected or uncontrollable events occurring on the systems of such third parties.
Operation of our power plants below expected capacity could result in lost revenues and increased expenses, including higher operation and maintenance costs, purchased power costs and capital requirements. Unplanned outages of generating units and extensions of scheduled outages due to mechanical failures or other problems occur from time to time and are an inherent risk of our business. Unplanned outages typically increase our operation and maintenance expenses or may require us to incur significant costs as a result of operating our higher cost units or obtaining replacement power from third parties in the open market to satisfy our sales obligations. Moreover, if we were unable to perform under contractual obligations, including but not limited to, our coal and coal transportation contracts, penalties or liability for damages could result.
FES, FG and the Ohio Companies are exposed to losses under their applicable sale-leaseback arrangements for generating facilities upon the occurrence of certain contingent events that could render those facilities worthless. Although we believe these types of events are unlikely to occur, FES, FG and the Ohio Companies have a maximum exposure to loss under those provisions of approximately $1.3 billion for FES, $545 million for OE and an aggregate of $303 million for TE and CEI as co-lessees.
We remain obligated to provide safe and reliable service to customers within our franchised service territories. Meeting this commitment requires the expenditure of significant capital resources. Failure to provide safe and reliable service and failure to meet regulatory reliability standards due to a number of factors, including, but not limited to, equipment failure and weather, could harm our business reputation and adversely affect our operating results through reduced revenues and increased capital and operating costs and the imposition of penalties/fines or other adverse regulatory outcomes.
Changes in Commodity Prices Including, but Not Limited to Natural Gas, Could Adversely Affect Our Profit Margins
We purchase and sell electricity in the competitive retail and wholesale markets. Increases in the costs of fuel for our generation facilities (particularly coal, uranium and natural gas) can affect our profit margins. Competition and changes in the market price of electricity, which are affected by changes in other commodity costs and other factors, may impact our results of operations and financial position by decreasing sales margins or increasing the amount we pay to purchase power to satisfy our sales obligations in the states we do business. We are exposed to risk from the volatility of the market price of natural gas. Our ability to sell at a profit is highly dependent on the price of natural gas. As the price of natural gas falls, other market participants that utilize natural gas-fired generation will be able to offer electricity at increasingly competitive prices, so the margins we realize from sales will be lower and, on occasion, we may need to curtail operation of marginal plants. The availability of natural gas and issues related to its accessibility may have a long-term material impact on the price of natural gas. In addition, the global economy could lead to lower international demand for coal, oil and natural gas, which may lower fossil fuel prices and put downward pressure on electricity prices.
Electricity and fuel prices may fluctuate substantially for a variety of reasons, including:
changing weather conditions or seasonality;
changes in electricity usage by our customers caused in part by energy and efficiency mandates and demand response initiatives;
illiquidity and credit worthiness of participants in wholesale power and other markets;
transmission congestion or transportation constraints, inoperability or inefficiencies;
availability of competitively priced alternative energy sources;
changes in supply and demand for energy commodities, including but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil;
changes in power production capacity;
outages, deactivations and retirements at our power production facilities or those of our competitors;
changes in production and storage levels of natural gas, such as that which could result from the natural gas produced in the Marcellus and Utica regions, lignite, coal, crude oil and refined products resulting in over or under supply;
changes in legislation and regulation; and
natural disasters, wars, acts of sabotage, terrorist acts, embargoes and other catastrophic events.
We Are Exposed to Operational, Price and Credit Risks Associated With Selling and Marketing Products in the Power Markets That We Do Not Always Completely Hedge Against
We purchase and sell power at the wholesale level under market-based tariffs authorized by FERC, and also enter into agreements to sell available energy and capacity from our generation assets. If we are unable to deliver firm capacity and energy under these
agreements, we may be required to pay damages. These damages would generally be based on the difference between the market price to acquire replacement capacity or energy and the contract price of the undelivered capacity or energy. Depending on price volatility in the wholesale energy markets, such damages could be significant. Extreme weather conditions, unplanned power plant outages, transmission disruptions, and other factors could affect our ability to meet our obligations, or cause increases in the market price of replacement capacity and energy.
We attempt to mitigate risks associated with satisfying our contractual power sales arrangements by reserving generation capacity to deliver electricity to satisfy our net firm sales contracts and, when necessary, by purchasing firm transmission service. We also routinely enter into contracts, such as fuel and power purchase and sale commitments, to hedge our exposure to fuel requirements and other energy-related commodities. We may not, however, hedge the entire exposure of our operations from commodity price volatility. To the extent we do not hedge against commodity price volatility, our results of operations and financial position could be negatively affected.
The Use of Derivative Contracts by Us to Mitigate Risks Could Result in Financial Losses That May Negatively Impact Our Financial Results
We use a variety of non-derivative and derivative instruments, such as swaps, options, futures and forwards, to manage our commodity and financial market risks. In the absence of actively quoted market prices and pricing information from external sources, the valuation of some of these derivative instruments involves management’s judgment or use of estimates. As a result, changes in the underlying assumptions or use of alternative valuation methods could affect the reported fair value of some of these contracts. Also, we could recognize financial losses as a result of volatility in the market values of these contracts or if a counterparty fails to perform.
Financial Derivatives Reforms Could Increase Our Liquidity Needs and Collateral Costs and Impose Additional Regulatory Burdens
The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) was enacted into law in July 2010 with the primary objective of increasing oversight of the United States financial system including the regulation of most financial transactions, swaps and derivatives. Dodd-Frank requires CFTC and SEC rulemaking to implement its provisions. Although the CFTC and the SEC have completed some of its rulemaking, a significant amount of rulemaking remains.
We rely on the OTC derivative markets as part of our program to hedge the price risk associated with our power portfolio. The effect on our operations of this legislation will depend in part on whether we are determined to be a swap dealer, a major swap participant or a qualifying end-user through a self-identification process. The overall impact of those regulations may be reduced but not eliminated for companies that participate in the swap market as "end-users" for hedging purposes. If we are determined to be a swap dealer or a major swap participant, we will be required to commit substantial additional capital toward collateral costs to meet the margin requirements of the major exchanges, comply with increased reporting and record-keeping requirements and follow CFTC-specified business conduct standards.
Even if we are not determined to be a swap dealer or a major swap participant, as an end-user, we are required to comply with additional regulatory obligations under Dodd-Frank, which includes record-keeping, reporting requirements and the clearing of some transactions that we would otherwise enter into over-the-counter. Also, the total burden that the rules could impose on all market participants could cause liquidity in the bilateral OTC swap market to decrease. The new rules could impede our ability to meet our hedge targets in a cost-effective manner. FirstEnergy cannot predict the ultimate impact Dodd-Frank rulemaking will have on its results of operations, cash flows or financial position.
Our Risk Management Policies Relating to Energy and Fuel Prices, and Counterparty Credit, Are by Their Very Nature Risk Related, and We Could Suffer Economic Losses Despite Such Policies
We attempt to mitigate the market risk inherent in our energy, fuel and debt positions. Procedures have been implemented to enhance and monitor compliance with our risk management policies, including validation of transaction and market prices, verification of risk and transaction limits, sensitivity analysis and daily portfolio reporting of various risk measurement metrics. Nonetheless, we cannot economically hedge all of our exposures in these areas and our risk management program may not operate as planned. For example, actual electricity and fuel prices may be significantly different or more volatile than the historical trends and assumptions reflected in our analyses. Also, our power plants might not produce the expected amount of power during a given day or time period due to weather conditions, technical problems or other unanticipated events, which could require us to make energy purchases at higher prices than the prices under our energy supply contracts. In addition, the amount of fuel required for our power plants during a given day or time period could be more than expected, which could require us to buy additional fuel at prices less favorable than the prices under our fuel contracts. As a result, we cannot always predict the impact that our risk management decisions may have on us if actual events lead to greater losses or costs than our risk management positions were intended to hedge.
Our risk management activities, including our power sales agreements with counterparties, rely on projections that depend heavily on judgments and assumptions by management of factors such as future market prices and demand for power and other energy-related commodities. These factors become more difficult to predict and the calculations become less reliable the further into the future these estimates are made. Even when our policies and procedures are followed and decisions are made based on these
estimates, results of operations may be adversely affected if the judgments and assumptions underlying those calculations prove to be inaccurate.
We also face credit risks from parties with whom we contract who could default in their performance, in which cases we could be forced to sell our power into a lower-priced market or make purchases in a higher-priced market than existed at the time of executing the contract. Although we have established risk management policies and programs, including credit policies, to evaluate counterparty credit risk, there can be no assurance that we will be able to fully meet our obligations, that we will not be required to pay damages for failure to perform or that we will not experience counterparty non-performance or that we will collect for voided contracts. If counterparties to these arrangements fail to perform, we may be forced to enter into alternative hedging arrangements or honor underlying commitments at then-current market prices. In that event, our financial results could be adversely affected.
Nuclear Generation Involves Risks that Include Uncertainties Relating to Health and Safety, Additional Capital Costs, the Adequacy of Insurance Coverage and Nuclear Plant Decommissioning
We are subject to the risks of nuclear generation, including but not limited to the following:
the potential harmful effects on the environment and human health resulting from unplanned radiological releases associated with the operation of our nuclear facilities and the storage, handling and disposal of radioactive materials;
limitations on the amounts and types of insurance commercially available to cover losses that might arise in connection with our nuclear operations or those of others in the United States;
uncertainties with respect to contingencies and assessments if insurance coverage is inadequate; and
uncertainties with respect to the technological and financial aspects of spent fuel storage and decommissioning nuclear plants, including but not limited to, waste disposal, at the end of their licensed operation including increases in minimum funding requirements or costs of completion.
The NRC has broad authority under federal law to impose licensing security and safety-related requirements for the operation of nuclear generation facilities. In the event of non-compliance, the NRC has the authority to impose fines and/or shut down a unit, depending upon its assessment of the severity of the situation, until compliance is achieved. Revised safety requirements promulgated by the NRC could necessitate substantial capital expenditures at nuclear plants, including ours. Also, a serious nuclear incident at a nuclear facility anywhere in the world could cause the NRC to limit or prohibit the operation or relicensing of any domestic nuclear unit. See "Potential NRC Regulation in Response to the Incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Could Adversely Affect Our Business and Financial Condition" below and Note 15, Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies - Environmental Matters of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
The Outcome of Litigation, Arbitration, Mediation, and Similar Proceedings, Involving Our Business, or That of One or More of Our Operating Subsidiaries, is Unpredictable and an Adverse Decision in Any Material Proceeding Could Have a Material Adverse Effect on Our Financial Position and Results of Operations.
We are involved in a number of litigation, arbitration, mediation, and similar proceedings including, but not limited to, dealing with our fuel and fuel transportation contracts. These matters may divert financial and management resources that would otherwise be used to benefit our operations. No assurances can be given that the results of these matters will be favorable to us. An adverse resolution of any of these material matters could have an adverse material impact on our financial position and results of operations. In addition, we are sometimes subject to investigations and inquiries by various state and federal regulators due to the heavily regulated nature of our industry. Any material inquiry or investigation could potentially result in an adverse ruling against us, which could have an adverse material impact on our financial position and operating results.
We Have a Significant Percentage of Coal-Fired Generation Capacity Which Exposes us to Risk from Regulations Relating to Coal and Coal Combustion Residuals
Approximately 60% of FirstEnergy's generation fleet capacity is coal-fired. Historically, coal-fired generating plants face greater exposure to the costs of complying with federal, state and local environmental statutes, rules and regulations relating to emissions of SO2 and NOx. In addition, the MATS established coal-fired emission standards for mercury, HCL and various metals effective in April 2015, the EPA proposed regulations that include an option to reclassify coal combustion residuals as a "special" hazardous waste, and there are currently a number of federal, state and international initiatives under consideration to, among other things, require reductions in GHG emissions. These legal requirements and initiatives could require substantial additional costs, extensive mitigation efforts and, in the case of GHG requirements, could raise uncertainty about the future viability of fossil fuels, particularly coal, as an energy source for new and existing electric generation facilities. Failure to comply with any such existing or future legal requirements may also result in the assessment of fines and penalties. Significant resources also may be expended to defend against allegations of violations of any such requirements.
Capital Market Performance and Other Changes May Decrease the Value of Pension Fund Assets, Decommissioning and Other Trust Funds Which Then Could Require Significant Additional Funding
Our financial statements reflect the values of the assets held in trust to satisfy our obligations to decommission our nuclear generation facilities and under pension and other postemployment benefit plans. Certain of the assets held in these trusts do not have readily determinable market values. Changes in the estimates and assumptions including, but not limited to the discount rate, inherent in the value of these assets could affect the value of the trusts. If the value of the assets held by the trusts declines by a material amount, our funding obligation to the trusts could materially increase. These assets are subject to market fluctuations and will yield uncertain returns, which may fall below our projected return rates. Forecasting investment earnings and costs to decommission nuclear generating stations, to pay future pensions and other obligations, requires significant judgment and actual results may differ significantly from current estimates. Capital market conditions that generate investment losses or increase the present value of liabilities can negatively impact our results of operations and financial position.
We Could be Subject to Higher Costs and/or Penalties Related to Mandatory Reliability Standards Set by NERC/FERC or Changes in the Rules of Organized Markets and the States in Which We Do Business
Owners, operators, and users of the bulk electric system are subject to mandatory reliability standards promulgated by the NERC and approved by FERC as well as mandatory reliability standards imposed by each of the states in which we operate. The standards are based on the functions that need to be performed to ensure that the bulk electric system operates reliably. NERC, RFC and FERC can be expected to continue to refine existing reliability standards as well as develop and adopt new reliability standards. Compliance with modified or new reliability standards may subject us to higher operating costs and/or increased capital expenditures. If we were found not to be in compliance with the mandatory reliability standards, we could be subject to sanctions, including substantial monetary penalties. FERC has authority to impose penalties up to and including $1.0 million per day for failure to comply with these mandatory electric reliability standards.
In addition to direct regulation by FERC and the states, we are also subject to rules and terms of participation imposed and administered by various RTOs and ISOs. Although these entities are themselves ultimately regulated by FERC, they can impose rules, restrictions and terms of service which are quasi-regulatory in nature and can have a material adverse impact on our business. For example, the independent market monitors of ISOs and RTOs may impose bidding and scheduling rules to curb the potential exercise of market power and to ensure the market functions. Such actions may materially affect our ability to sell, and the price we receive for, our energy and capacity. In addition, PJM may direct our transmission-owning affiliates to build new transmission facilities to meet PJM's reliability requirements or to provide new or expanded transmission service under the PJM open access transmission tariff.
We Rely on Transmission and Distribution Assets That We Do Not Own or Control to Deliver Our Wholesale Electricity. If Transmission is Disrupted, Including Our Own Transmission, or Not Operated Efficiently, or if Capacity is Inadequate, Our Ability to Sell and Deliver Power May Be Hindered
We depend on transmission and distribution facilities owned and operated by utilities and other energy companies to deliver the electricity we sell. If transmission is disrupted (as a result of weather, natural disasters or other reasons) or not operated efficiently by ISOs and RTOs, in applicable markets, or if capacity is inadequate, our ability to sell and deliver products and satisfy our contractual obligations may be hindered, or we may be unable to sell products on the most favorable terms. In addition, in certain of the markets in which we operate, we may be required to pay for congestion costs if we schedule delivery of power between congestion zones during periods of high demand. If we are unable to hedge or recover such congestion costs in retail rates, our financial results could be adversely affected.
Demand for electricity within our Utilities’ service areas could stress available transmission capacity requiring alternative routing or curtailing electricity usage that may increase operating costs or reduce revenues with adverse impacts to our results of operations. In addition, as with all utilities, potential concerns over transmission capacity could result in PJM or FERC requiring us to upgrade or expand our transmission system, requiring additional capital expenditures.
FERC requires wholesale electric transmission services to be offered on an open-access, non-discriminatory basis. Although these regulations are designed to encourage competition in wholesale market transactions for electricity, it is possible that fair and equal access to transmission systems will not be available or that sufficient transmission capacity will not be available to transmit electricity as we desire. We cannot predict the timing of industry changes as a result of these initiatives or the adequacy of transmission facilities in specific markets or whether ISOs or RTOs in applicable markets will operate the transmission networks, and provide related services, efficiently.
Disruptions in Our Fuel Supplies or Changes in Our Fuel Needs Could Occur, Which Could Adversely Affect Our Ability to Operate Our Generation Facilities or Impact Financial Results
We purchase fuel from a number of suppliers. The lack of availability of fuel at expected prices, or a disruption in the delivery of fuel which exceeds the duration of our on-site fuel inventories, including disruptions as a result of weather, increased transportation costs or other difficulties, labor relations or environmental or other regulations affecting our fuel suppliers, could cause an adverse impact on our ability to operate our facilities, possibly resulting in lower sales and/or higher costs and thereby adversely affect our results of operations. Operation of our coal-fired generation facilities is highly dependent on our ability to procure coal. We have long-term contracts in place for a majority of our coal and coal transportation needs. We may from time to time enter into new, or renegotiate certain of these contracts, but can provide no assurance that such contracts will be negotiated or renegotiated, as the
case may be, on satisfactory terms, or at all. In addition, if prices for physical delivery are unfavorable, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially adversely affected.
Temperature Variations as well as Weather Conditions or other Natural Disasters Could Have a Negative Impact on Our Results of Operations and Demand Significantly Below or Above Our Forecasts Could Adversely Affect Our Energy Margins
Weather conditions directly influence the demand for electric power. Demand for power generally peaks during the summer and winter months, with market prices also typically peaking at that time. Overall operating results may fluctuate based on weather conditions. In addition, we have historically sold less power, and consequently received less revenue, when weather conditions are milder. Severe weather, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, such as Hurricane Sandy, ice or snowstorms, or droughts or other natural disasters, may cause outages and property damage that may require us to incur additional costs that are generally not insured and that may not be recoverable from customers. The effect of the failure of our facilities to operate as planned under these conditions would be particularly burdensome during a peak demand period and could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Customer demand could change as a result of severe weather conditions or other circumstances over which we have no control. We satisfy our electricity supply obligations through a portfolio approach of providing electricity from our generation assets, contractual relationships and market purchases. A significant increase in demand could adversely affect our energy margins if we are required to provide the energy supply to fulfill this increased demand at fixed rates, which we expect would remain below the wholesale prices at which we would have to purchase the additional supply if needed or, if we had available capacity, the prices at which we could otherwise sell the additional supply. A significant decrease in demand, resulting from factors including but not limited to increased customer shopping, more stringent energy efficiency mandates and increased demand response initiatives could cause a decrease in the market price of power. Accordingly, any significant change in demand could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial position.
We Are Subject to Financial Performance Risks Related to Regional and General Economic Cycles and also Related to Heavy Manufacturing Industries such as Automotive and Steel
Our business follows economic cycles. Economic conditions are a determinant of the demand for electricity and declines in the demand for electricity will reduce our revenues. The regional economy in which our Utilities operate is influenced by conditions in automotive, steel and other heavy industries and as these conditions change, our revenues will be impacted. Additionally, the primary market areas of our Competitive Energy Services segment overlap, to a large degree, with our Utilities' territories and hence its revenues are substantially impacted by the same economic conditions.
Increases in Economic Uncertainty May Lead to a Greater Amount of Uncollectible Customer Accounts
Our operations are impacted by the economic conditions in our service territories and those conditions could negatively impact the rate of delinquent customer accounts and our collections of accounts receivable which could adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We May Recognize Impairments of Recorded Goodwill or of Some of Our Long-Lived Assets, Which Would Result in Write-Offs of the Impaired Amounts and Could Have an Adverse Effect on Our Results of Operations
Goodwill could become impaired at one or more of our operating subsidiaries. In addition, one or more of our long-lived assets could become impaired. The actual timing and amounts of any impairments in future years would depend on many factors, including interest rates, sector market performance, our capital structure, natural gas or other commodity prices, market prices for power, results of future rate proceedings, operating and capital expenditure requirements, the value of comparable acquisitions, environmental regulations and other factors.
We Face Certain Human Resource Risks Associated with the Availability of Trained and Qualified Labor to Meet Our Future Staffing Requirements
We must find ways to balance the retention of our aging skilled workforce while recruiting new talent to mitigate losses in critical knowledge and skills due to retirements. Mitigating these risks could require additional financial commitments and the failure to retain or attract trained and qualified labor could have an adverse effect on our business.
Significant Increases in Our Operation and Maintenance Expenses, Including Our Health Care and Pension Costs, Could Adversely Affect Our Future Earnings and Liquidity
We continually focus on limiting, and reducing where possible, our operation and maintenance expenses. We expect to continue to face increased cost pressures in the areas of health care and pension costs. We have experienced significant health care cost inflation in recent years, and we expect our cash outlay for health care costs, including prescription drug coverage, to continue to increase despite measures that we have taken and expect to take requiring employees and retirees to bear a higher portion of the costs of their health care benefits. The measurement of our expected future health care and pension obligations and costs is highly dependent on a variety of assumptions, many of which relate to factors beyond our control. These assumptions include investment returns, interest rates, discount rates, health care cost trends, benefit design changes, salary increases, the demographics of plan
participants and regulatory requirements. If actual results differ materially from our assumptions, our costs could be significantly increased.
Our Results May be Adversely Affected by the Volatility in Pension and OPEB Expenses.
FirstEnergy recognizes in income the change in the fair value of plan assets and net actuarial gains and losses for its defined Pension and OPEB plans. This adjustment is recognized in the fourth quarter of each year and whenever a plan is determined to qualify for a remeasurement, which could result in greater volatility in pension and OPEB expenses and may materially impact our results of operations under GAAP.
Security Breaches, Including Cyber Security Breaches, and Other Disruptions Could Compromise Critical and Proprietary Information and Expose Us to Liability, Which Would Cause our Business and Reputation to Suffer.
In the ordinary course of our business, we store sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary information regarding our business, employees, customers, suppliers and business partners in our data centers and on our networks. The secure maintenance of this information is critical to our operations. Despite security measures we have employed with respect to this information, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other disruptions. Any such breach could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings and regulatory penalties. It could also disrupt our business operations and damage our reputation, which could adversely affect our business.
Acts of War or Terrorism Could Negatively Impact Our Business
The possibility that our infrastructure, such as electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, or that of an interconnected company, could be direct targets of, or indirect casualties of, an act of war or terrorism, could result in disruption of our ability to generate, purchase, transmit or distribute electricity. Any such disruption could result in a decrease in revenues and additional costs to purchase electricity and to replace or repair our assets, which could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.
Capital Improvements and Construction Projects May Not be Completed Within Forecasted Budget, Schedule or Scope Parameters
Our business plan calls for extensive capital investments. We may be exposed to the risk of substantial price increases in the costs of labor and materials used in construction. We engage numerous contractors and enter into a large number of agreements to acquire the necessary materials and/or obtain the required construction-related services. As a result, we are also exposed to the risk that these contractors and other counterparties could breach their obligations to us. Such risk could include our contractors’ inabilities to procure sufficient skilled labor as well as potential work stoppages by that labor force. Should the counterparties to these arrangements fail to perform, we may be forced to enter into alternative arrangements at then-current market prices that may exceed our contractual prices, with resulting delays in those and other projects. Although our agreements are designed to mitigate the consequences of a potential default by the counterparty, our actual exposure may be greater than these mitigation provisions. This could have negative financial impacts such as incurring losses or delays in completing construction projects.
Changes in Technology and Regulatory Policies May Significantly Affect Our Generation Business by Making Our Generating Facilities Less Competitive
We primarily generate electricity at large central facilities. This method results in economies of scale and lower costs than newer technologies such as fuel cells, microturbines, windmills and photovoltaic solar cells. It is possible that advances in technologies or changes in regulatory policies will reduce costs of new technology to levels that are equal to or below that of most central station electricity production, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
We May Acquire Assets That Could Present Unanticipated Issues for Our Business in the Future, Which Could Adversely Affect Our Ability to Realize Anticipated Benefits of Those Acquisitions
Asset acquisitions involve a number of risks and challenges, including: management attention; integration with existing assets; difficulty in evaluating the requirements associated with the assets prior to acquisition, operating costs, potential environmental and other liabilities, and other factors beyond our control; and an increase in our expenses and working capital requirements. Any of these factors could adversely affect our ability to achieve anticipated levels of cash flows or realize other anticipated benefits from any such asset acquisition.
Certain FirstEnergy Companies May Not be Able to Meet Their Obligations to or on behalf of Other FirstEnergy Companies or their Affiliates
Certain of the FirstEnergy companies have obligations to other FirstEnergy companies because of transactions involving energy, coal, other commodities, services and hedging transactions. If one FirstEnergy entity failed to perform under any of these arrangements, other FirstEnergy entities could incur losses. Their results of operations, financial position, or liquidity could be adversely affected, resulting in the nondefaulting FirstEnergy entity being unable to meet its obligations to unrelated third parties.
Our hedging activities are generally undertaken with a view to overall FirstEnergy exposures. Some FirstEnergy companies may therefore be more or less hedged than if they were to engage in such transactions alone. Also, some companies affiliated with FirstEnergy also provide guarantees to third party creditors on behalf of other FirstEnergy affiliates under transactions of the type described above or under financing transactions. Any failure to perform under such a guarantee by the affiliated FirstEnergy guarantor company or under the underlying transaction by the FirstEnergy company on whose behalf the guarantee was issued could have similar adverse impacts on one or both FirstEnergy companies or their affiliates.
Energy Companies are Subject to Adverse Publicity Which Make Them Vulnerable to Negative Regulatory and Legislative Outcomes
Energy companies, including FirstEnergy's utility subsidiaries, have been the subject of criticism focused on the reliability of their distribution services and the speed with which they are able to respond to power outages, such as those caused by storm damage. Adverse publicity of this nature, or adverse publicity associated with our nuclear and/or coal-fired facilities may cause less favorable legislative and regulatory outcomes and damage our reputation, which could have an adverse impact on our business.
Risks Associated With Regulation
Complex and Changing Government Regulations, Including Those Associated With Rates and Pending Rate Cases Could Have a Negative Impact on Our Results of Operations
We are subject to comprehensive regulation by various federal, state and local regulatory agencies that significantly influence our operating environment. Changes in, or reinterpretations of, existing laws or regulations, or the imposition of new laws or regulations, could require us to incur additional costs or change the way we conduct our business, and therefore could have an adverse impact on our results of operations.
Our utility subsidiaries currently provide service at rates approved by one or more regulatory commissions. Thus, the rates a utility is allowed to charge may be decreased as a result of actions taken by one or more of the state regulatory commissions in which our utility subsidiaries operate. Also, these rates may not be set to recover the Utility's expenses at any given time. Additionally, there may also be a delay between the timing of when costs are incurred and when costs are recovered. For example, we may be unable to timely recover the costs for our energy efficiency investments, expenses and additional capital or lost revenues resulting from the implementation of aggressive energy efficiency programs. While rate regulation is premised on providing an opportunity to earn a reasonable return on invested capital and recovery of operating expenses, there can be no assurance that the applicable regulatory commission will determine that all of our costs have been prudently incurred or that the regulatory process in which rates are determined will always result in rates that will produce full recovery of our costs in a timely manner.
Regulatory Changes in the Electric Industry, Including a Reversal of, Discontinuance of, or Impediment to the Present Trend Toward Competitive Markets, Could Affect Our Competitive Position and Result in Unrecoverable Costs Adversely Affecting Our Business and Results of Operations
As a result of restructuring initiatives, changes in the electric utility business have occurred, and are continuing to take place throughout the United States, including the states in which we do business. These changes have resulted, and are expected to continue to result, in fundamental alterations in the way utilities conduct their business.
Some states that have deregulated generation service have experienced difficulty in transitioning to market-based pricing. In some instances, state and federal government agencies and other interested parties have made proposals to impose rate cap extensions or otherwise impede market restructuring or even re-regulate areas of these markets that have previously been deregulated. Although we expect wholesale electricity markets to continue to be competitive, proposals to re-regulate our industry may be made, and legislative or other action affecting the electric power restructuring process may cause the process to be delayed, discontinued, restructured or reversed in the states in which we currently, or may in the future, operate. For example, the PUCO and PPUC have recently instituted investigations in Ohio and Pennsylvania, respectively, to evaluate the vitality of, and to make recommendations for improvements to, the competitive retail markets in those states. Such delays, discontinuations or reversals of electricity market restructuring in the markets in which we operate could have an adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.
FERC and the U.S. Congress propose changes from time to time in the structure and conduct of the electric utility industry. If any restructuring, deregulation or re-regulation efforts result in decreased margins or unrecoverable costs, our business and results of operations would be adversely affected. We cannot predict the extent or timing of further efforts to restructure, deregulate or re-regulate our business or the industry.
The Prospect of Rising Rates Could Prompt Legislative or Regulatory Action to Restrict or Control Such Rate Increases. This In Turn Could Create Uncertainty Affecting Planning, Costs and Results of Operations and May Adversely Affect the Utilities’ Ability to Recover Their Costs, Maintain Adequate Liquidity and Address Capital Requirements
Increases in utility rates that may follow a period of frozen or capped rates, can generate pressure on legislators and regulators to take steps to control those increases. Such efforts can include some form of rate increase moderation, reduction or freeze. The public discourse and debate can increase uncertainty associated with the regulatory process, the level of rates and revenues, and the ability to recover costs. Such uncertainty restricts flexibility and resources, given the need to plan and ensure available financial resources. Such uncertainty also affects the costs of doing business. Such costs could ultimately reduce liquidity, as suppliers
tighten payment terms, and increase costs of financing, as lenders demand increased compensation or collateral security to accept such risks.
Our Profitability is Impacted by Our Affiliated Companies’ Continued Authorization to Sell Power at Market-Based Rates
FERC granted certain subsidiaries authority to sell electricity at market-based rates. These orders also granted them waivers of certain FERC accounting, record-keeping and reporting requirements, as well as, waivers of the requirements to obtain FERC approval for issuances of securities. FERC’s orders that grant this market-based rate authority reserve the right to revoke or revise that authority if FERC subsequently determines that these companies can exercise market power in transmission or generation, create barriers to entry or engage in abusive affiliate transactions. As a condition to the orders granting the generating companies market-based rate authority, every three years they are required to file a market power update to show that they continue to meet FERC’s standards with respect to generation market power and other criteria used to evaluate whether entities qualify for market-based rates.
There Are Uncertainties Relating to Our Participation in RTOs
RTO rules could affect our ability to sell power produced by our generating facilities to users in certain markets due to transmission constraints and attendant congestion costs. The prices in day-ahead and real-time energy markets and RTO capacity markets have been subject to price volatility. Administrative costs imposed by RTOs, including the cost of administering energy markets, have also increased. The rules governing the various regional power markets may also change from time to time, which could affect our costs or revenues. To the degree we incur significant additional fees and increased costs to participate in an RTO, and we are limited with respect to recovery of such costs from retail customers, we may suffer financial harm. In addition, we may be allocated a portion of the cost of transmission facilities built by others due to changes in RTO transmission rate design. Finally, we may be required to expand our transmission system according to decisions made by the RTO rather than our internal planning process. As a member of an RTO, we are subject to certain additional risks, including those associated with the allocation among members of losses caused by unreimbursed defaults of other participants in that RTO’s market and those associated with complaint cases filed against the RTO that may seek refunds of revenues previously earned by its members.
Because it remains unclear which companies will be participating in the various regional power markets, or how RTOs will ultimately develop and operate, or what region they will cover, we cannot fully assess the impact that these power markets or other ongoing RTO developments may have.
Energy Efficiency and Peak Demand Reduction Mandates and Energy Price Increases Could Negatively Impact Our Financial Results
A number of regulatory and legislative bodies have introduced requirements and/or incentives to reduce energy consumption. Conservation programs could impact our financial results in different ways. To the extent conservation resulted in reduced energy demand or significantly slowed the growth in demand, the value of our competitive generation and other unregulated business activities could be adversely impacted. We currently have energy efficiency riders in place to recover the cost of these programs either at or near a current recovery timeframe in the states where we operate. In New Jersey, we recover the costs for energy efficiency programs through the SBC. Currently only our Ohio Companies recover lost revenues. In our regulated operations, conservation could negatively impact us depending on the regulatory treatment of the associated impacts. Should we be required to invest in conservation measures that result in reduced sales from effective conservation, regulatory lag in adjusting rates for the impact of these measures could have a negative financial impact. We could also be impacted if any future energy price increases result in a decrease in customer usage. Our results could be adversely affected if we are unable to increase our customer’s participation in our energy efficiency programs. We are unable to determine what impact, if any, conservation and increases in energy prices will have on our financial condition or results of operations.
Our Business and Activities are Subject to Extensive Environmental Requirements and Could be Adversely Affected by such Requirements
As a result of a 2012 comprehensive review of FirstEnergy's coal-fired generating facilities in light of the recently finalized MATS rules and other expanded environmental requirements, we deactivated sixteen older coal-fired generating units in 2012, and intend to deactivate five additional older coal-fired generating units when RMR requirements terminate. We may be forced to shut down other facilities or change their operating status, either temporarily or permanently, if we are unable to comply with these or other existing or new environmental requirements, or if we make a determination that the expenditures required to comply with such requirements are uneconomical.
The EPA is Conducting NSR Investigations at a Number of Generating Plants that We Currently or Formerly Owned, the Results of Which Could Negatively Impact Our Results of Operations and Financial Condition
We may be subject to risks in connection with changing or conflicting interpretations of existing laws and regulations, including, for example, the applicability of EPA's NSR programs. Under the CAA, modification of our generation facilities in a manner that results in increased emissions could subject our existing generation facilities to the far more stringent new source standards applicable to new generation facilities.
The EPA has taken the view that many companies, including many energy producers, have been modifying emissions sources in violation of NSR standards in connection with work considered by the companies to be routine maintenance. We are currently involved in litigation and EPA investigations concerning alleged violations of the NSR standards at certain of our existing and former generating facilities. We intend to vigorously pursue and defend our position but we are unable to predict their outcomes. If NSR and similar requirements are imposed on our generation facilities, in addition to the possible imposition of fines, compliance could entail significant capital investments in pollution control technology, which could have an adverse impact on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. For a more complete discussion see Note 15, Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies - Environmental Matters of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Costs of Compliance with Environmental Laws are Significant, and the Cost of Compliance with Future Environmental Laws, Including Limitations on GHG Emissions, Could Adversely Affect Cash Flow and Profitability
Our operations are subject to extensive federal, state and local environmental statutes, rules and regulations. Compliance with these legal requirements requires us to incur costs for, among other things, installation and operation of pollution control equipment, emissions monitoring and fees, remediation and permitting at our facilities. These expenditures have been significant in the past and may increase in the future. If the cost of compliance with existing environmental laws and regulations does increase, it could adversely affect our business and results of operations, financial position and cash flows. Moreover, new environmental laws or regulations including, but not limited to MATS, or changes to existing environmental laws or regulations may materially increase our costs of compliance or accelerate the timing of capital expenditures. Because of the deregulation of generation, we may not directly recover through rates additional costs incurred for such compliance. Our compliance strategy, including but not limited to, our assumptions regarding estimated compliance costs, although reasonably based on available information, may not successfully address future relevant standards and interpretations. If we fail to comply with environmental laws and regulations or new interpretations of longstanding requirements, even if caused by factors beyond our control, that failure could result in the assessment of civil or criminal liability and fines. In addition, any alleged violation of environmental laws and regulations may require us to expend significant resources to defend against any such alleged violations.
There are a number of initiatives to reduce GHG emissions under consideration at the federal, state and international level. Environmental advocacy groups, other organizations and some agencies in the United States and elsewhere are focusing considerable attention on CO2 emissions from power generation facilities and their potential role in climate change. There is a growing consensus in the United States and globally that GHG emissions are a major cause of global warming and that some form of regulation will be forthcoming at the federal level with respect to GHG emissions (including CO2) and such regulation could result in the creation of substantial additional costs in the form of taxes or emission allowances. As a result, it is possible that state and federal regulations will be developed that will impose more stringent limitations on emissions than are currently in effect. Due to the uncertainty of control technologies available to reduce GHG emissions, including CO2, as well as the unknown nature of potential compliance obligations should climate change regulations be enacted, we cannot provide any assurance regarding the potential impacts these future regulations would have on our operations. In addition, any legal obligation that would require us to substantially reduce our emissions could require extensive mitigation efforts and, in the case of carbon dioxide legislation, would raise uncertainty about the future viability of fossil fuels, particularly coal, as an energy source for new and existing electric generation facilities. The impact that any new environmental regulations, voluntary compliance guidelines, enforcement initiatives, or legislation may have on our results of operations, financial condition or liquidity is not determinable.
FirstEnergy cannot currently estimate the financial impact of certain environmental laws or initiatives including climate change policies, but potential legislative or regulatory programs restricting CO2 emissions, or litigation alleging damages from GHG emissions could require significant capital and other expenditures or result in changes to its operations. See Note 15, Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies - Environmental Matters of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a more detailed discussion of the federal, state and international initiatives seeking to reduce emissions of GHG.
We Could be Exposed to Private Rights of Action Seeking Damages Under Various State and Federal Law Theories
Claims have been made against certain energy companies alleging that CO2 emissions from power generating facilities constitute a public nuisance under federal and/or state common law. As a result, private individuals may seek to enforce environmental laws and regulations against us and could allege personal injury or property damages. While FirstEnergy is not a party to this litigation, it, and/or one of its subsidiaries, could be named in actions making similar allegations. An unfavorable ruling in any such case could have an adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition and could significantly impact our operations.
Our Costs to Comply with Various Recently Adopted EPA Emission Regulations, Including but not Limited to MATS, Could be
Substantial and Result in Significant Changes to Our Operations
On December 21, 2011, the EPA finalized the MATS to establish emission standards for, among other things, mercury, HCL and various metals, for electric generating units. The costs associated with MATS compliance, and other environmental laws, is substantial and contributed to the Company's decision to deactivate nine older coal-fired generating plants. MATS is also being challenged by numerous entities, including FG, in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Depending on the outcome of these legal proceedings and how MATS and other EPA emission regulations are ultimately implemented, MP's, FG's and AE Supply's future cost of compliance may be substantial and changes to FirstEnergy's operations may result. FirstEnergy's future cost of compliance with such regulations may be substantial and additional changes to FirstEnergy's operations may result.
See Note 15, Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies - Environmental Matters of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a more detailed discussion of the above-referenced EPA regulations.
Various Federal and State Water Quality Regulations May Require Us to Make Material Capital Expenditures
The EPA established performance standards under the CWA for reducing impacts on fish and shellfish from cooling water intake structures at certain existing electric generating plants, specifically, impingement mortality (when aquatic organisms are pinned against screens or other parts of a cooling water intake system) and entrainment (which occurs when aquatic life is drawn into a facility's cooling water system). In 2011, the EPA proposed new regulations under the CWA which generally require fish impingement to be reduced to a 12% annual average and calls for studies to be conducted at the majority of our existing generating facilities to assist permitting authorities to determine whether and what site-specific controls, if any, would be required to reduce entrainment of aquatic life. FirstEnergy is studying the cost and effectiveness of various control options to divert fish away from its plants' cooling water intake systems. Depending on the results of such studies and the EPA's further rulemaking and any final action taken by the states, the future costs of compliance with these standards may require material capital expenditures. See Note 15, Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies - Environmental Matters of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a more detailed discussion of the various federal and state water quality regulations listed above.
Compliance with any Coal Combustion Residual Regulations Could Have an Adverse Impact on Our Results of Operations and Financial Condition
We are subject to various federal and state hazardous waste regulations. The EPA has requested comments from the states on options for regulating coal combustion residuals, including whether they should be regulated as hazardous or non-hazardous waste.
The EPA asserted that the large volumes of coal combustion residuals produced by electric utilities pose significant financial risk to the industry and has proposed two options for additional regulation of coal combustion residuals, including the option of regulation as a special waste under the EPA's hazardous waste management program which could have a significant impact on the management, beneficial use and disposal of coal combustion residuals. FirstEnergy's future cost of compliance with any coal combustion residuals regulations that may be issued could be substantial and would depend, in part, on the regulatory action taken by the EPA and implementation by the EPA or the states. Compliance with those regulations could have an adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition. See Note 15, Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies - Environmental Matters of the Combined Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Remediation of Environmental Contamination at Current or Formerly Owned Facilities
We are subject to liability under environmental laws for the costs of remediating environmental contamination of property now or formerly owned by us and of property contaminated by hazardous substances that we may have generated regardless of whether the liabilities arose before, during or after the time we owned or operated the facilities. Remediation activities associated with our former MGP operations are one source of such costs. We are currently involved in a number of proceedings relating to sites where other hazardous substances have been deposited and may be subject to additional proceedings in the future. We also have current or previous ownership interests in sites associated with the production of gas and the production and delivery of electricity for which we may be liable for additional costs related to investigation, remediation and monitoring of these sites. Citizen groups or others may bring litigation over environmental issues including claims of various types, such as property damage, personal injury, and citizen challenges to compliance decisions on the enforcement of environmental requirements, such as opacity and other air quality standards, which could subject us to penalties, injunctive relief and the cost of litigation. We cannot predict the amount and timing of all future expenditures (including the potential or magnitude of fines or penalties) related to such environmental matters, although we expect that they could be material.
In some cases, a third party who has acquired assets from us has assumed the liability we may otherwise have for environmental matters related to the transferred property. If the transferee fails to discharge the assumed liability or disputes its responsibility, a regulatory authority or injured person could attempt to hold us responsible, and our remedies against the transferee may be limited by the financial resources of the transferee.
We Are and May Become Subject to Legal Claims Arising from the Presence of Asbestos or Other Regulated Substances at Some of Our Facilities
We have been named as a defendant in pending asbestos litigation involving multiple plaintiffs and multiple defendants. In addition, asbestos and other regulated substances are, and may continue to be, present at our facilities where suitable alternative materials are not available. We believe that any remaining asbestos at our facilities is contained. The continued presence of asbestos and other regulated substances at these facilities, however, could result in additional actions being brought against us.
Availability and Cost of Emission Allowances Could Negatively Impact Our Costs of Operations
Although recent court rulings and current conditions have reduced the immediate risk of a negative impact on our operating costs, the uncertainty around CAA programs and requirements continue to be a major concern. We are still required to maintain, either by allocation or purchase, sufficient emission allowances to support our operations in the ordinary course of operating our power generation facilities. These allowances are used to meet our obligations imposed by various applicable environmental laws. If our
operational needs require more than our allocated allowances, we may be forced to purchase such allowances on the open market, which could be costly. If we are unable to maintain sufficient emission allowances to match our operational needs, we may have to curtail our operations so as not to exceed our available emission allowances, or install costly new emission controls. As we use the emission allowances that we have purchased on the open market, costs associated with such purchases will be recognized as operating expense. If such allowances are available for purchase, but only at significantly higher prices, the purchase of such allowances could materially increase our costs of operations in the affected markets.
Mandatory Renewable Portfolio Requirements Could Negatively Affect Our Costs
If federal or state legislation mandates the use of renewable and alternative fuel sources, such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal and such legislation would not also provide for adequate cost recovery, it could result in significant changes in our business, including REC purchase costs, purchased power and capital expenditures. Any such changes may have an adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
The Continuing Availability and Operation of Generating Units is Dependent on Retaining or Renewing the Necessary Licenses, Permits, and Operating Authority from Governmental Entities, Including the NRC
We are required to have numerous permits, approvals and certificates from the agencies that regulate our business. We believe the necessary permits, approvals and certificates have been obtained for our existing operations and that our business is conducted in accordance with applicable laws; however, we are unable to predict the impact on our operating results from future regulatory activities of any of these agencies and we are not assured that any such permits, approvals or certifications will be renewed.
Potential NRC Regulation in Response to the Incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Could Adversely Affect Our Business and Financial Condition
As a result of the NRC's investigation of the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the NRC has begun to promulgate new or revised requirements with respect to nuclear plants located in the United States, which could necessitate additional expenditures at our nuclear plants. For example, as a follow up to the NRC near-term Task Force's review and analysis of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, in January 2012, the NRC released an updated seismic risk model that plant operators must use in performing the seismic reevaluations recommended by the task force. The NRC has also issued orders and guidance that increases procedural and testing requirements, requires physical modifications to our plants and is expected to increase future compliance and operating costs. These reevaluations could result in the required implementation of additional mitigation strategies or modifications. It is also possible that the NRC could suspend or otherwise delay pending nuclear relicensing proceedings, including the Davis-Besse relicensing proceeding. The impact of any such regulatory actions could adversely affect FirstEnergy's financial condition or results of operations.
The Physical Risks Associated with Climate Change May Impact Our Results of Operations and Cash Flows
Physical risks of climate change, such as more frequent or more extreme weather events, changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, changes to ground and surface water availability, and other related phenomena, could affect some, or all, of our operations. Severe weather or other natural disasters could be destructive, which could result in increased costs, including supply chain costs. An extreme weather event within the Utilities' service areas can also directly affect their capital assets, causing disruption in service to customers due to downed wires and poles or damage to other operating equipment. Finally, climate change could affect the availability of a secure and economical supply of water in some locations, which is essential for continued operation of generating plants.
Future Changes in Accounting Standards May Affect Our Reported Financial Results
The SEC, FASB or other authoritative bodies or governmental entities may issue new pronouncements or new interpretations of existing accounting standards that may require us to change our accounting policies. These changes are beyond our control, can be difficult to predict and could materially impact how we report our financial condition and results of operations. We could be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively, which could adversely affect our financial position.
Increases in Taxes and Fees May Adversely Affect Our Results of Operation, Financial Audit and Cash Flow
Due to the revenue needs of the United States and the states and jurisdictions in which we operate, various tax and fee increases may be proposed or considered. We cannot predict whether legislation or regulation will be introduced, the form of any legislation or regulation, or whether any such legislation or regulation will be passed by legislatures or regulatory bodies. If enacted, these changes could increase tax costs and could have a negative impact on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Risks Associated With Financing and Capital Structure
Disruptions in the Capital and Credit Markets Relating to U.S. Fiscal Policy May Adversely Affect Our Business, Including the Availability and Cost of Short-Term Funds for Liquidity Requirements, Our Ability to Meet Long-Term Commitments, Our Ability to Hedge Effectively Our Generation Portfolio, and the Competitiveness and Liquidity of Energy Markets; Each Could Adversely Affect Our Results of Operations, Cash Flows and Financial Condition
We rely on the capital markets to meet our financial commitments and short-term liquidity needs if internal funds are not available from our operations. We also use letters of credit provided by various financial institutions to support our hedging operations. Disruptions in the capital and credit markets could adversely affect our ability to draw on our respective credit facilities. Our access to funds under those credit facilities is dependent on the ability of the financial institutions that are parties to the facilities to meet their funding commitments. Those institutions may not be able to meet their funding commitments if they experience shortages of capital and liquidity or if they experience excessive volumes of borrowing requests within a short period of time.
Longer-term disruptions in the capital and credit markets as a result of uncertainty, changing or increased regulation, reduced alternatives or failures of significant foreign or domestic financial institutions or foreign governments could adversely affect our access to liquidity needed for our business. Any disruption could require us to take measures to conserve cash until the markets stabilize or until alternative credit arrangements or other funding for our business needs can be arranged. Such measures could include deferring capital expenditures, changing hedging strategies to reduce collateral-posting requirements, and reducing or eliminating future dividend payments or other discretionary uses of cash.
The strength and depth of competition in energy markets depends heavily on active participation by multiple counterparties, which could be adversely affected by disruptions in the capital and credit markets. Reduced capital and liquidity and failures of significant institutions that participate in the energy markets could diminish the liquidity and competitiveness of energy markets that are important to our business. Perceived weaknesses in the competitive strength of the energy markets could lead to pressures for greater regulation of those markets or attempts to replace those market structures with other mechanisms for the sale of power, including the requirement of long-term contracts, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows.
Interest Rates and/or a Credit Rating Downgrade Could Negatively Affect Our or Our Subsidiaries' Financing Costs, Ability to Access Capital and Requirement to Post Collateral and the Ability to Continue Successfully Implementing Our Retail Sales Strategy
We have near-term exposure to interest rates from outstanding indebtedness indexed to variable interest rates, and we have exposure to future interest rates to the extent we seek to raise debt in the capital markets to meet maturing debt obligations and fund construction or other investment opportunities. Past disruptions in capital and credit markets have resulted in higher interest rates on new publicly issued debt securities, increased costs for certain of our variable interest rate debt securities and failed remarketings of variable interest rate tax-exempt debt issued to finance certain of our facilities. Similar future disruptions could increase our financing costs and adversely affect our results of operations. Also, interest rates could change as a result of economic or other events that our risk management processes were not established to address. As a result, we cannot always predict the impact that our risk management decisions may have on us if actual events lead to greater losses or costs than our risk management positions were intended to hedge. Although we employ risk management techniques to hedge against interest rate volatility, significant and sustained increases in market interest rates could materially increase our financing costs and negatively impact our reported results of operations.
We rely on access to bank and capital markets as sources of liquidity for cash requirements not satisfied by cash from operations. A downgrade in our or our subsidiaries' credit ratings from the nationally recognized credit rating agencies, particularly to a level below investment grade, could negatively affect our ability to access the bank and capital markets, especially in a time of uncertainty in either of those markets, and may require us to post cash collateral to support outstanding commodity positions in the wholesale market, as well as available letters of credit and other guarantees. A downgrade in our credit rating, or that of our subsidiaries, could also preclude certain retail customers from executing supply contracts with us and therefore impact our ability to successfully implement our retail sales strategy. Furthermore, a downgrade could increase the cost of such capital by causing us to incur higher interest rates and fees associated with such capital. A rating downgrade would also increase the fees we pay on our various existing credit facilities, thus increasing the cost of our working capital. A rating downgrade could also impact our ability to grow our businesses by substantially increasing the cost of, or limiting access to, capital. See Note 15, Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies - Guarantees and Other Assurances of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for more information associated with a credit ratings downgrade leading to the posting of cash collateral.
The Stability of Financial Institutions or Counterparties Could Adversely Affect Us
We have exposure to many different domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties and we routinely execute transactions with counterparties in connection with our hedging activities, including brokers and dealers, commercial banks, investment banks and other institutions and industry participants. Many of these transactions expose us to credit risk in the event that any of our lenders or counterparties are unable to honor their commitments or otherwise default under a financing agreement. We also deposit cash in short-term investments. Our ability to access our cash quickly depends on the stability of the financial institutions in which those funds reside. Any delay in our ability to access those funds, even for a short period of time, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
We Must Rely on Cash from Our Subsidiaries and Any Restrictions on Our Utility Subsidiaries' Ability to Pay Dividends or Make Cash Payments to Us May Adversely Affect Our Financial Condition
We are a holding company and our investments in our subsidiaries are our primary assets. Substantially all of our business is conducted by our subsidiaries. Consequently, our cash flow is dependent on the operating cash flows of our subsidiaries and their ability to upstream cash to the holding company. Our utility subsidiaries are regulated by various state utility commissions that
generally possess broad powers to ensure that the needs of utility customers are being met. Those state commissions could attempt to impose restrictions on the ability of our utility subsidiaries to pay dividends or otherwise restrict cash payments to us.
We Cannot Assure Common Shareholders that Future Dividend Payments Will be Made, or if Made, in What Amounts they May be Paid
Our Board of Directors regularly evaluates our common stock dividend policy and determines the dividend rate each quarter. The level of dividends will continue to be influenced by many factors, including, among other things, our earnings, financial condition and cash flows from subsidiaries, as well as general economic and competitive conditions. We cannot assure common shareholders that dividends will be paid in the future, or that, if paid, dividends will be at the same amount or with the same frequency as in the past.
UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
The first mortgage indentures for OE, Penn, FG and NG constitute direct first liens on substantially all of the respective physical property, subject only to excepted encumbrances, as defined in the first mortgage indentures. See Notes 5, Leases, and 11, Capitalization of the Combined Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for information concerning leases and financing encumbrances affecting certain of the Utilities’, FG’s and NG’s properties.
As of September 1, 2012, the following coal-fired power plants, which collectively include sixteen generating units, were deactivated: Albright, Armstrong, Bay Shore Units 2-4, Eastlake Units 4-5, R. Paul Smith, Rivesville and Willow Island. Five additional generating units, Ashtabula, Eastlake Units 1-3, and Lake Shore will remain active pursuant to RMR arrangements with PJM until their anticipated deactivation, which is expected in the spring of 2015.
FirstEnergy controls the following generation sources as of January 31, 2013, shown in the table below. Except for the leasehold interests, OVEC participation and wind and solar power arrangements referenced in the footnotes to the table, substantially all of FES' competitive generating units are owned by NG (nuclear) and FG (non-nuclear); the regulated generating units are owned by JCP&L and MP.
Net Demonstrated Capacity (MW)
Bruce Mansfield (Shippingport, PA)
Bruce Mansfield (Shippingport, PA)
Bruce Mansfield (Shippingport, PA)
Harrison (Haywood, WV)
Hatfield's Ferry (Masontown, PA)
Pleasants (Willow Island, WV)
W. H. Sammis (Stratton, OH)
Fort Martin (Maidsville, WV)
Sub-critical and Other Coal-fired:
W. H. Sammis (Stratton, OH)
Eastlake (Eastlake, OH)
Bay Shore (Toledo, OH)
Mitchell (Courtney, PA)
Lakeshore (Cleveland, OH)
Ashtabula (Ashtabula, OH)
OVEC (Cheshire, OH) (Madison, IN)
Beaver Valley (Shippingport, PA)
Beaver Valley (Shippingport, PA)