Public Policy Research Education and Advocacy
August 10, 2000 412/421-6072
PITTSBURGH, August 10--Citizen Power, a regional watchdog organization, announced today that it intends to oppose the purchase of General Public Utilities (GPU) by FirstEnergy (FE), and calls on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to protect Ohio and Pennsylvania ratepayers from FE’s attempt to control the regional market.
Citizen Power has worked for years to prevent increases in market control that allow utilities to keep out competitors in the regional market. That is the reason Citizen Power successfully opposed the acquisition of Duquesne Light Company by Allegheny Energy, is still fighting the Ohio Edison-Centerior merger at the FERC, and is opposing the FE transition plan at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). “The western Pennsylvania retail electricity market is flat and this planned buy out by FE would only help to insure that no competition occurs in this region for a long time”, said David Hughes, Executive Director of Citizen Power.
“For over two years, FE has refused to put its transmission system under the control of an independent operator. If FE is allowed to buy GPU without a requirement to give up control of its transmission lines, competitors cannot survive in the regional market”, Hughes said. “We will oppose this merger in the appropriate regulatory bodies to force FE to join a functioning, fully independent Regional Transmission Organization.”
In addition, Citizen Power is very concerned that northern Ohio ratepayers, who have just been socked by the PUCO for FE’s $9 billion in “stranded” costs, are footing the bill for this plan to sell FE generating capacity to customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. “Now we know where those billions are going”, said Hughes. “Citizen Power is concerned that FE may not pass on any sales revenues from the GPU territory to its northern Ohio customers”, Hughes said. “FE will likely give all the goodies to its shareholders and its ratepayers will continue footing the bill for its bad $10 billion nuclear investment.”
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