JCP&L Rate Plan to Support Continued Service Reliability Enhancements and Recover Storm-Related CostsResidential Rates to Remain Lowest Among the State's Regulated Electric Utilities
MORRISTOWN, N.J., Feb. 18, 2020 -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) today filed an electric rate plan with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) that will support service reliability enhancements made by the utility in recent years as well as recover costs incurred to restore power to customers following severe storms.
Since January 1, 2016, JCP&L has invested $1 billion, including capital projects, to strengthen its electric system and meet reliability standards set by the BPU. Projects include reinforcing electric infrastructure on the Barrier Islands, completing substation flood mitigation, deploying equipment that automatically transfers customers to adjacent circuits if an issue is detected, and accelerating vegetation management work designed to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.
JCP&L also incurred significant costs related to power restoration following numerous storm events since its last rate case, including Winter Storms Riley and Quinn in March 2018, Winter Storm Quiana in February 2019 and Winter Storm Ezekiel in December 2019. By the end of 2019, JCP&L's accumulated unrecovered storm costs had grown to more than $300 million.
"Since 2016, we have made investments in our infrastructure that benefit customers by enhancing the resiliency of our system, and that grid hardening work will continue to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of our customers," said Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L. "The same concept applies to ensuring recovery of recent storm-related costs. With more frequent severe weather events expected in the years ahead, we need to be prepared to deploy the resources necessary to restore service to customers as safely and quickly as possible."
Upon approval of the filing, JCP&L customers would continue to pay the lowest residential electric rates among New Jersey's four regulated electric distribution companies. The result would be an 8.5 percent overall rate increase for the average JCP&L residential customer using 766 kilowatt hours per month – a monthly increase of $8.73.
Under this filing, JCP&L would also offer new options for municipal LED streetlights, consistent with Governor Murphy's recently released Energy Master Plan, which encourages increased adoption of this more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly lighting technology.
JCP&L, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary, serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren. Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com.
FirstEnergy is 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 Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.shaoxi.site.
Forward-Looking Statements: Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 based on information currently available to management. Unless the context requires otherwise, as used herein, references to "we", "us", "our", and "FirstEnergy" refer to FirstEnergy Corp. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. 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," "forecast," "target," "will," "intend," "believe," "project," "estimate," "plan" 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, which may include the following: the ability to successfully execute an exit from commodity-based generation, including, without limitation, mitigating exposure for remedial activities associated with formerly owned generation assets; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, our strategy to operate and grow as a fully regulated business, to execute our transmission and distribution investment plans, to continue to reduce costs and to improve our credit metrics, strengthen our balance sheet and grow earnings; legislative and regulatory developments including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, compliance and enforcement activity; economic and weather conditions affecting future operating results, such as significant weather events and other natural disasters, and associated regulatory events or actions; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, the reliability of our transmission and distribution system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission and distribution investment opportunities; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, the impact of climate change or energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us and/or our major industrial and commercial customers or others with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our information technology system, which may compromise our operations, and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information; the ability to comply with applicable reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes to environmental laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those related to climate change; changing market conditions affecting the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our pension trusts and other trust funds, or causing us to make contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger, than currently anticipated; the risks associated with the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings involving FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. (FES), its subsidiaries, and FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating company (FENOC) (FES Bankruptcy) that could adversely affect us, our liquidity or results of operations, including, without limitation, that conditions to the FES Bankruptcy settlement agreement may not be met or that the FES Bankruptcy settlement agreement may not be otherwise consummated, and if so, the potential for litigation and payment demands against us by FES or FENOC or their creditors; the risks associated with the decommissioning of our retired and former nuclear facilities; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings; labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; changes to significant accounting policies; any changes in tax laws or regulations, or adverse tax audit results or rulings; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us, including the increasing number of financial institutions evaluating the impact of climate change on their investment decisions; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect either our access to or terms of financing or our financial condition and liquidity; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in FirstEnergy's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy's common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy'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. These forward-looking statements are also qualified by, and should be read together with, the risk factors included in FirstEnergy's filings with the SEC, including but not limited to the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. The foregoing review of factors also 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 obligation to update or revise, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
News Media Contact: Cliff Cole, (973) 401-8347