FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. has made a tentative deal with its creditors that will keep Davis-Besse, Perry, and Beaver Valley nuclear power plants operating through the previously announced shutdown dates. In addition, this will also allow them to continue operation of several coal-fired plants until their previously announced shutdown plans.
Davis-Besse — Ottawa County’s largest employer and one of Ohio’s largest sources of tax revenue — is scheduled for shutdown no later than May 31, 2020.
Other nuclear facilities — the Perry nuclear plant east of Cleveland and the twin-reactor Beaver Valley complex west of Pittsburgh — are scheduled to be phased out before the end of 2021 while the remaining FES coal-fired power plants are still destined for shutdown by mid-2022.
The proposed agreement will form the basis of a reorganization plan that still must be approval by Judge Alan M. Koschik of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Akron, Ohio. The plan is expected to be filed by February 8th, and the company is hopeful of its approval.
FES and its parent company, FirstEnergy Corp., have lobbied for relief from record-low natural gas prices for years. Although the current (Trump) Administration seems to be working to obtain relief for the nuclear and coal plants – FirstEnergy and FES believe if they wait on the current Administration to make a change that would be helpful for them, it would be too late.
The agreement calls for the debtor to obtain approval of the disclosure statement by March 21, 2019 and for the court to issue a confirmation order by May 10, 2019. Assuming all of this will fall into place – the plan would provide the necessary reorganization by September 15th or October 31st – the latter if there are still unresolved regulatory approvals needed.