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FirstEnergy Announces Plans to Build New $45 Million Transmission Control Center in Akron

Date : 11/27/2012 @ 11:30PM
Source : PR Newswire (US)
Stock : Firstenergy Corp. (FE)
Quote : 33.86  0.06 (0.18%) @ 8:22PM
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FirstEnergy Announces Plans to Build New $45 Million Transmission Control Center in Akron

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FirstEnergy Announces Plans to Build New $45 Million Transmission Control Center in Akron

AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today announced plans to construct a new state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly transmission control center in Akron.  The highly secure facility will be built at the company's West Akron Complex, an existing 150-acre site that already houses an Ohio Edison service center, a FirstEnergy call center, and a large office building where several company subsidiaries are based.

While preliminary site preparation work is being done this fall, groundbreaking for the 70,000-square-foot facility is expected to occur in the spring of 2013, with planned completion of construction by the end of the year.  The new "Akron Control Center," as it will be known, is expected to cost approximately $45 million

"The new Akron Control Center is designed to make our current high level of transmission service reliability even better," said Charles E. Jones, Jr., senior vice president and president, FirstEnergy Utilities.  "In addition, we will utilize high-performance, environmentally friendly design, construction and operational options for this new building."

The Akron Control Center will feature advanced computer systems to monitor electrical grid reliability in various geographic areas of the country where FirstEnergy has operations.  Once operational, the new Akron Transmission Control Center will oversee and monitor transmission operations in areas served by FirstEnergy's Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison, Pennsylvania Power, Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric Company and Jersey Central Power & Light utilities.  In addition, FirstEnergy's Fairmont, W. Va., Transmission Control Center will continue to monitor transmission operations in areas served by the company's Mon Power, Potomac Edison and West Penn Power utilities.

The new facility will replace the company's existing Ohio Transmission Control Center located in Wadsworth, Ohio, which will be used as a back-up and training facility.  Most of the 112 employees who currently work in Wadsworth will be transferred to Akron in stages as the new facility is completed.

FirstEnergy expects to submit this project to be considered for the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.  LEED is an internationally recognized third-party green building certification system that recognizes buildings that have met the highest possible green building standards and verifies a project's level of environmental responsibility and ability to provide occupants with a healthy place to live and work. 

If approved, the Akron Control Center would be FirstEnergy's third major facility to receive LEED certification.  In 2009, the company's West Akron Campus received Gold Level LEED status, making it one of the largest such green office buildings in Ohio; and in 2011, the company's new West Virginia Operations Headquarters, in Fairmont, W. Va., received Certified LEED status.

The Akron Control Center is being designed by Akron, Ohio-based Braun & Steidl Architects.  Fairlawn, Ohio-based Welty Building Company, which previously served as construction manager for FirstEnergy's West Akron Campus, also will be construction manager for this project.  In addition, GPD, of Akron, is providing electrical/mechanical engineering services and Thorson Baker & Associates, of Richfield, Ohio, is doing site development and structural engineering.

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence.  Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.  Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables.  Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

Forward-Looking Statements: This news release 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, 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, 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, changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices and availability, 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 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, 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 our plans to deactivate our older unscrubbed regulated and competitive fossil units and our plans to change the operations of certain fossil plants, including the impact on vendor commitments, and the timing of those deactivations and operational changes as they relate to, among other things, the RMR arrangements and the reliability of the transmission grid, issues that could result from the NRC's review of the indications of cracking in the Davis Besse Plant shield building, 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 transmission service charge riders, the continuing availability of generating units, changes in their operational status and any related impacts on 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 mandates, changes in customers' demand for power, including but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency mandates, the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic goals, 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 and Competitive Energy Services segments, 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, changes in general economic conditions affecting us and our subsidiaries, interest rates and any actions taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and our subsidiaries' access to financing, increased costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, LOCs and other financial guarantees, the state of the national and regional economy and its impact on our major industrial and commercial customers, issues concerning the soundness 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. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims 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.

SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.

Copyright 2012 PR Newswire



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