So, what were you thinking, FirstEnergy? Last Friday, Goldman Sachs downgraded FirstEnergy. This comes on the heels of concerns about cash flow from UBS Securities last month.
So, FirstEnergy cheers itself up with a little shopping spree to buy the naming rights to Cleveland Browns Stadium? Who does that, FirstEnergy, honestly!!??!!! Okay, so I'm a big fan of retail therapy myself and, in fact, my last "treatment" was actually necessitated by the actions of a FirstEnergy subsidiary and required a box of European chocolate cookies, a paperback novel and a new blazer to cure, but I had the cash to pay for it all.
FirstEnergy continues to throw its money away on stupid stuff and make bad choices. Where does FirstEnergy think its cash is going to come from? From the sale of its uncompetitive coal plants into the West Virginia regulatory system? I wouldn't bet on it. How about from Tony's "transmission spend?" No, not there either. Maybe they can make it up by stealing all AEP's Ohio customers? Not with those margins. Perhaps they can raise some cash by killing AEP's Ohio solar farm deal and hundreds of jobs for veterans? Oh, wait, that's just spite, not a source of cash for FirstEnergy.
I know!!! Maybe FirstEnergy could sell one of its subsidiaries after milking it for every last penny! Mon Power and Potomac Edison could be put up for sale in order to raise much needed cash to pay for stadiums, cigars, and state regulatory commissioners. Inflation, you know, prices are going up for everything these days.
But take comfort, little consumer. The Plain Dealer reminds:
"Whatever FirstEnergy is paying for the naming rights, by law the company cannot pass that cost on to its customers by increasing rates. FirstEnergy's delivery rates are determined by the the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and reflect what it is spending on wires, transformers and the like, not what it spends on advertising or lobbying. The price of the electricity itself is determined by auctions and then reviewed by the state."
Ha ha ha ha ha. Apparently The Plain Dealer hasn't seen this pile of discovery responses sitting on my desk. Laws are only as good as the folks who enforce them, and certain companies cheat when they think nobody is watching.
Where's my box of cookies?