An ordinary Akron citizen came up with a common sense way to help FirstEnergy know when street lights have burned out. Carl Williams joined Jasen and Bobbi to talk about his "The Brighter, The Better" project.
First Energy CEO Tony Alexander says he'll support the proposed Summit County sales tax hike to fund law enforcement upgrades and a new downtown arena. He'll also be working to whip up support for the tax in the business community. He joined Jasen to explain why.
Tricia Ingraham with FirstEnergy spoke with Ray about how the company uses the power of technology and social media to connect with customers.
Maria Campanelli . Executive Director with the Children's Museum Of Cleveland spoke with WAKR's Ray Horner Friday morning.
The cost behind the electric bill for many FirstEnergy customers will definitely go up in the next couple of years - but will the bill itself go up?
A PUCO auction Wednesday for power for customers who don't switch to other wholesale suppliers came up with average prices as high as 68-dollars per megawatt hour for a two year period through 2016.
FirstEnergy spokesman Doug Colafella says that the utility knew higher prices were coming...and tried to do something about it.
"The idea was for us to take advantage of some of the lower electricity prices we were seeing one or two years ago," Colafella tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and be able to blend those low prices with the slightly higher prices that we're seeing, together."
Colafella says that the company is trying to shield customers from price spikes, "and ensure that our customers who don't switch to a competitive supplier can get the most affordable electric supply prices available in the marketplace."
Colafella says he can't predict exactly how bills will be affected in the next couple of years, but says FirstEnergy customers can shop around for different wholesale suppliers. The utility will still deliver the power.
The power grid that handles thirteen states, including Ohio, has called for people to conserve energy whenever possible this week.
PJM Interconnect says Tuesday saw record winter demand.
FirstEnergy is one of the utilities on the PJM Grid.
Spokesman Mark Durbin says that there was "heavy" power demand during the heart of the cold snap, but even a few extra degrees on the thermometer will help lower consumption.
"With the temperatures on the upswing, even though it's creeping upwards," Durbin tells AkronNewsNow.com, "it still will help a great deal as far as the electricity people use."
Durbin says that though usage has been heavy, this isn't the time of year that usually sets records for power usage in Ohio.
"As far as any all-time peaks," Durbin says, "typically we see that in the summertime when people are using those air conditioners a lot."
He says the widespread use of natural gas heat in the winter means the demand for electric heat in Ohio isn't as heavy as it is in some other states.
The retirement of a long-time member of FirstEnergy's management is prompting some shuffling at the vice-president level.
The Akron-based utility says Mark T. Clark, executive vice president of Finance and Strategy, is retiring after 37 years with the company.
Senior vice-president and chief financial officer James Pearson will now directly report to FirstEnergy president/CEO Anthony Alexander
He'll oversee vice-president of Corporate Risk and chief risk officer John Judge.
(FirstEnergy - news release) Akron, Ohio – FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today announced management changes that expand the roles and responsibilities for key executives as part of the company's succession planning strategy, and reflect the company's focus on building its regulated businesses. The following changes will be effective on January 1, 2014.
Mark T. Clark, executive vice president, Finance and Strategy, will retire following a 37-year career with the company. James F. Pearson, senior vice president and chief financial officer, who previously reported to Clark, will report to Anthony J. Alexander, president and chief executive officer. John W. Judge, vice president, Corporate Risk and chief risk officer, will report to Pearson.
"Mark has played a key role in shaping the company's strategic direction and growth, and he was an integral part of the effort that built FirstEnergy into one of the nation's largest diversified energy companies," said Alexander. "His vast knowledge and experience have helped guide our company through both growth and challenges, and I appreciate all he has done for FirstEnergy."
Power outages affected Ohio Edison customers in some parts of the Akron area Tuesday afternoon.
The company's outage website showed power was off for about 1400 customers in the area along North Main Street and Tallmadge Avenue in Akron's North Hill for a few hours. About 1800 customers in Stow were also out of power, mainly in the Graham Road and Route 8 area.
FirstEnergy says wet snow weighed down the lines, but the company says it had crews at the ready...and they kept crews working to make sure power was turned back on, for areas without it, as soon as possible.
The good news? As of early Wednesday morning, there were no outages in Summit County.
A Heat Advisory is in effect this afternoon and FirstEnergy is already feeling the heat. FirstEnergy reports than more than 36,000 customers are without power in the far corner of northeast Ohio, mainly in Ashtabula County. But there are other scattered outages in other northern Ohio counties. Some scattered outages are reported in the Mogadore and Portage Lakes area locally. FirstEnergy blames the extreme heat for causing the outages.
Ohio Edison has flipped the switch and powered up a new $2.1 million substation in Medina County.
FirstEnergy's Mark Durbin says the new substation on Wadsworth Road in Montville Township will help electric service in southern Medina County, now and in the future.
"The whole idea is to improve service reliability out there, and also meet the growing demand for electricity in that area," Durbin tells AkronNewsNow.com. "Southern Medina County is a growing area for Ohio Edison, and we're all about trying to make sure that we meet those needs, and this substation will help do that."
The new substation also is expected to help reduce the effects of power outages.
"For example, if there's an outage that occurs from the weather or what not," Durbin says, "it would mitigate the frequency and duration of those outages."
It was 10 years ago today that most of Akron was part of a massive blackout that left 50 million people in the dark. It was largely blamed on Akron-based FirstEnergy, which has repeated that although the company had a role, there were actually many things that went wrong that day. In fact, FirstEnergy Spokesman Mark Durbin says there were more than 800 "events" that played a role. FirstEnergy remembers well, but the company now has a "that was then, this is now" attitude, choosing to concentrate on what has happened in the last decade to avoid a repeat.
"We, as an industry, and FirstEnergy as a company, we've added new facilities and equipment, enhanced operator training, implemented new procedures and all of those are designed to ensure the reliability of the grid," said Durbin.
Grid reliability is not just a concern of the power companies and their customers - it's also being watched by the federal government. Durbin says a comprehensive study following the 2003 blackout led to uniform reliability standards.
"We had standards ten years ago, but the weren't uniform across the industry, and now they are," said Durbin. "There was not the ability of the government to fine someone who is in violation of one of those standards. That is in place now."
Durbin says FirstEnergy's new $45 million transmission control center that is under construction on Mull Avenue in Akron is a prime example of the commitment to provide interruption-free power. He says it features technology that is premiere to the country, possibly the world. He also says increased efforts to keep trees trimmed away from power lines, including use of a new aerial saw.