Poor management pointed the finger at everyone else yesterday during some silly Chamber of Gladhanders event.
The quotes in the news article were bad enough, but check out the full text of the fairy tale here.
If Tony actually believes any of this stuff, he needs to exit stage left:
"All of us have been challenged by the economy over the last few years."
Well, except for you and your 1% pals, right? After all, how much of a struggle is it to survive on $23M a year? Almost as hard as it is to survive locked out of your job for months because your employer is a union buster, I'm sure.
"For example, in FirstEnergy’s six-state service area, our 2013 utility sales were below 2007 levels – and, during that period, wholesale energy prices dropped by more than 40 percent. While this isn’t the first time we’ve faced tough economic conditions, this is the longest period of economic stagnation I’ve seen in my 40 years in the industry. We will ultimately work through this… and as the economy grows, so will the use of electricity."
It's called energy efficiency, Tony. It's permanent.
"But quite frankly, the challenges we now face from government interference in the electric business are far more intrusive and disruptive, and I believe far more significant to our industry’s future, and to your future. That’s because whether it impacts our traditional regulated business or our competitive operations, government policy is now aimed at stifling the growth and use of electricity – and picking winners and losers in the competitive marketplace."
Oh, puh-leeze. FirstEnergy was singing a different tune when the West Virginia government puppets at the PSC "interfered" in FirstEnergy's scheme to sell a dirty, old coal plant to itself and charge West Virginia ratepayers over a billion dollars for it. Not only was having FirstEnergy's dirty trash dumped on ratepayers intrusive and disruptive to the amount we pay for electricity, it's effect is going to last well into the future. The mistakes of FirstEnergy's competitive operations got dumped into its regulated business, and that stifles economic growth and use of electricity in West Virginia. Worst of all, the PSC allowed FirstEnergy to pick winners and losers in the competitive marketplace. Yeah. FirstEnergy wins, we lose.
"Or, would you think it is fair to face competition from a supplier who can be indifferent to price… since all of its costs, including a return on investment, are guaranteed?"
What? Every stinking penny of FirstEnergy's $121M dollar investment in its unneeded PATH project was earning a 14.3% return on investment, and recovery of its sunk costs are guaranteed in the event of abandonment. FirstEnergy spent generously because it was indifferent to the ultimate quarter billion dollar abandoned price to ratepayers.
In addition, FirstEnergy is well on its way to plunking its "transmission spend" into a whole bunch of dubious projects, just to earn a big return on the investment. That's not "fair." Right.
"The industry has invested more than $840 billion… employs more than 500,000 workers… and pays billions of dollars in taxes."
But FirstEnergy earns a return on its investment, treats its workers like garbage, and doesn't pay any taxes!
"Thomas Sowell, a noted economist and commentator at Stanford, summarized a broader trend, now playing out in our nation’s energy policy, when he said, quote: “Much of the social history of the western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
In the electric utility industry, energy efficiency, renewable power, distributed generation, micro grids, roof-top solar and demand reduction are examples of what “sounds good” – and while they may all play some role in meeting the energy needs of customers, they are not substitutes for what has worked to sustain a reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electric system. And, the mandates and subsidies needed to force their use have far-reaching consequences for our customers and our economy."
Energy efficiency, renewable power, distributed generation, micro grids, roof-top solar and demand reduction sounds like a workable, and inevitable, future to me. Tony can either get in the backseat or get left behind. His choice.
Thomas Sowell quote? Really?
"Consider the fact that you can no longer buy a 100-watt incandescent light bulb in the United States, but you can purchase a 500-horsepower vehicle."
Oh, the horrors! Wanna bet that Tony is an incandescent bulb hoarder? He probably sits in his underground bunker with huge stack of them, crying quietly.
"Or that electric customers are being forced to pay additional costs for subsidized, unneeded generation."
Is he talking about Harrison?
"Or that these policies and others – designed to achieve a social agenda that has little, if anything, to do with maintaining electric service – are shifting the fixed costs of the system to customers who can least afford it… and are undermining our nation’s competitive position."
Why are you doing that to West Virginia, Tony, WHY?
"Quite frankly, I believe state and federal policymakers are manipulating the supply and demand, and distorting markets for electricity, to further advance the “war on coal.”
Well, quite frankly, I believe FirstEnergy is manipulating the supply and demand and distorting the markets for electricity, to further advance corporate profits.
"Some generating units were off-line as natural gas was used to meet higher priorities – and the entire market was affected by a substantial increase in the price of natural gas. To put this price increase in perspective, it was the equivalent of paying about $85 per gallon of gasoline!"
And one of FirstEnergy's nuke plants was also off-line, right? And then prices went up, and FirstEnergy charged more than 2 million customers a "polar vortex fee" that's now under investigation by more than one state regulatory commission.
"As President Ronald Reagan stated in a letter to Congress on July 17, 1981, “Our national energy plan should not be a rigid set of production and conservation goals dictated by government… When the free market is permitted to work the way it should, millions of individual choices and judgments will produce the proper balance of supply and demand our economy needs."
Because the only thing more trite than a Ronald Reagan quote is comparing your issue to the Holocaust, right?