FirstEnergy Upgrading W PA Electric Grid, Some Benefit for Shale

FirstEnergy is one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. We’ve reported on a number of projects launched by FirstEnergy to assist the shale industry–running power lines to natural gas processing plants, etc. (see FirstEnergy Investing $100M in Electric Projects for WV Marcellus). FirstEnergy has just announced another $235 million of upgrades/investments in its West Penn service area. Some of those upgrades are targeted at serving the shale industry. But FirstEnergy is conflicted. Although it loves to help midstream companies and drillers by selling them electricity, it doesn’t like it when private, independent (and competitive) companies actually produce the electricity, from shale gas, that competes with FirstEnergy’s own electric supplies. In Ohio, FirstEnergy is attempting to get the state to re-regulate the electric industry to freeze out new natgas-fired electric plants (see OH Fight to Re-Regulate Electric Industry – Impacts on Shale). So although FirstEnergy professes its love of the shale industry, it’s a conditional love…

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