Chronicle Journal: Finance

FirstEnergy Aerial and Light Duty Fleet Purchases Will Be 100% Electric or Hybrid Vehicles Starting in 2021

AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) announced today that 100% of new fleet purchases of aerial and light duty trucks will be electric or hybrid vehicles beginning in 2021. Transitioning its vehicle fleet to these cleaner-powered options is part of FirstEnergy's larger efforts to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions companywide and support transportation electrification efforts in its six-state service area.

FirstEnergy Corp. Logo (PRNewsfoto/FirstEnergy Corp.)

Through this commitment to steadily replace fossil fuel-based vehicles, including utility bucket trucks, small pickups, SUVs and other support vehicles, FirstEnergy expects to electrify 30% of its approximately 3,400 light duty and aerial fleet vehicles by 2030, representing 1,034 vehicles, with the goal of reaching 100% electrification by 2050. The 30% fleet replacement target has the potential to annually eliminate approximately 10,000 metric tons of GHG emissions while saving more than 3.8 million gallons of fuel from 2021-2030.

"This is an important step in our larger, company-wide responsible replacement program that allows us to replace vehicles in need of replacing with electric models that can be added to our utility fleet without affecting the service we provide our customers," said Steven E. Strah, president, FirstEnergy. "A team of employees tested versions of the hybrid vehicles in the field and determined we could get comparable operational benefits while substantially reducing emissions. We believe our efforts to lead by example in this area will help spur customer adoption of electric vehicles in the coming years."

Because fully electric aerial trucks are still under development, some of the new hybrid vehicles will feature plug-in idle mitigation units powered by battery packs for the lift or bucket, along with operating the truck's heating and air conditioning systems. These hybrid aerial trucks significantly reduce the amount of time the diesel engine operates, which also reduces air and noise pollution. Truck manufacturers estimate that utility vehicles idle in park for about 65% of their total engine hours, and an hour of engine idle is equivalent to using one gallon of fuel.

FirstEnergy's vehicle replacement process is based on the number of miles and the age of the current vehicles. Starting in 2021, hybrid light duty vehicles, such as pickup trucks, vans and SUVs, will be delivered to all FirstEnergy utilities, including Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison in Ohio; Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power and West Penn Power in Pennsylvania; Mon Power in West Virginia; Potomac Edison in West Virginia and Maryland; and Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) in New Jersey. The plan is to increase all-electric light duty purchases as the charging infrastructure develops. Orders for the hybrid aerial trucks also have been placed and are expected to arrive next summer in the majority of FirstEnergy utility areas.

Part of FirstEnergy's vehicle replacement process includes a previously announced purchase agreement with Lordstown Motors, a start-up electric vehicle manufacturer in northeast Ohio, for 250 new all-electric pickup trucks.

In addition to taking steps to electrify the company's fleet, one of FirstEnergy's utilities, Potomac Edison, has implemented a pilot program in Maryland to promote electric vehicle usage and adoption by its customers. Earlier this year, the EV Driven program was launched and features the installation of publicly available electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, rebates for both residential and multifamily charger installations, and incentives for EV charging during off-peak hours. The program was approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission.

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 online at www.firstenergycorp.com. Follow FirstEnergy and its utilities on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp, @ToledoEdison, @IlluminatingCo, @OhioEdison, @MonPowerWV, @JCP_L, @Penn_Power, @Penelec, @Met_Ed, @PotomacEdison, @W_Penn_Power.

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. Such 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 extent and duration of COVID-19 and the impacts to our business, operations and financial condition resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, disruption of businesses in our territories, volatile capital and credit markets, legislative and regulatory actions, the effectiveness of our pandemic and business continuity plans, the precautionary measures we are taking on behalf of our customers and employees, our customers' ability to make their utility payment and the potential for supply-chain disruptions; risks and uncertainties associated with the ongoing government investigation regarding Ohio House Bill 6 and related matters; mitigating exposure for remedial activities associated with retired and formerly owned electric generation assets, including, but not limited to, risks associated with the decommissioning of TMI-2; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, executing our transmission and distribution investment plans, controlling costs, improving our credit metrics, strengthening our balance sheet and growing 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 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; the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our SEC filings. Dividends declared from time to time on our common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by our 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 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 or in the information incorporated by reference as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.

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