Little Blue Run

The employees working at Little Blue Run (they are former IBEW 272 members that worked at Bruce Mansfield Plant) are currently working under a contract extension since February 15th. We have met with the Company a number of times and are making progress in getting to an agreement, i am hopeful that we will get to a fair agreement for the members to vote on by the end of the month.

FE Bankruptcy Update: Local 29 Succeeds in Keeping CBA and All Benefits Intact

At the hearing on October 15, 2019, the Company reported that framework agreements were reached between the unions and the Company, which was the only obstacle preventing court approval of the proposed reorganization plan. Since we agreed to withdraw our objection to the reorganization plan, the Court went ahead and approved the reorganization plan. We then presented our motion for attorneys' fees and explained how much has been achieved for the entire workforce of the Company. Our attorney Joyce Goldstein said, in part: 

The motion is based on the "substantial contribution" that was made by the Unions - through counsel -towards allowing the Debtors to move forward with their reorganization while protecting ALL the wages, benefits and working conditions of their workforce. 

As this Court well knows, that commitment was not made willingly or easily. The Unions FOUGHT relentlessly for it - in court and out of court - from the minute this case was filed - but especially since the restructuring agreement {RSA) and the disclosure statement were approved without any commitment to preserve all aspects of our CBAs. 

While the Debtors did not willingly or easily make this commitment, I believe that they - and other creditors - will ultimately benefit - and have benefitted - from a stable and satisfied workforce and not one forced to unfairly carry the burden of bankruptcy on its back. 

As the court knows, pensions had been the biggest obstacle to reaching a settlement. The Debtors had insisted on converting from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution plan - which among other things, would have reduced the level of benefits and shifted the risk of future payments from a well-funded company onto its employees. I'm happy to report that in the deal we reached, the Debtors agreed to establish a new defined benefit pension plan that, when combined with the benefits of the existing FE Corp plan, will allow all employees to retire with a pension at the same level of benefits and terms that they would have received had the bankruptcy not occurred. 

On this issue, the Framework Agreements provide: 

For the avoidance of doubt, the intent of the Parties is to ensure that no employee currently participating in the FE Pension Plan will be adversely affected with respect to the terms and amount of his/her pension benefits after emergence from bankruptcy. The pension benefits earned under the FE Pension Plan, in addition to benefits earned under the new defined benefit pension plan established by the Company, will be no less than every eligible employee would have received had their service with the Company been treated as continued uninterrupted service under the FE Pension Plan. Significantly, the pension benefits of the framework agreements that were negotiated by just two unions (29 and 270) will be extended to ALL other employees - both union and salary throughout the Debtors' workforce - nuclear and fossil. The benefits that these two unions negotiated will be enjoyed by their co-workers - as a result of these unions' efforts. This truly is an example of how a union's tenacity can improve working conditions and achieve a benefit that is enjoyed by others - how it lifts all boats. 

After I spoke, the lawyers for both the Company and the Creditors Committee spoke. They both agreed that we had worked "tirelessly" to protect the wages and benefits of all workers and had been very successful. Both of them expressly supported our motion. No party offered any opposition and the Court then granted our motion. As soon as we receive payment from the Company, we will send checks back to the IBEW and UWUA for distribution to the locals. 

This is an amazing victory for our members and labor in general, to have Union's from the IBEW and UWUA join forces for a common cause would not have happened without great Leadership at the top of these Union's, their support was instrumental in us getting the outcome that we desired. At the Local level IBEW 29 and UWUA 270 were in the fox whole together until the end, neither local would agree to anything until both locals were satisfied, I believe that made a big difference in the getting to an agreement. Glenn and myself want to thank Frank Meznarich UWUA 270 for their solidarity throughout this process. 

I am thankful for the hard work and dedication from Joyce Goldstein and her Law Firm for the standing with Labor in this fight, Joyce gave our local the confidence to continue fighting until we got what we deserved. There were times when we talked about settling even though the Company was not giving us what we wanted, but they were short conversations. Glenn Camp put many hours, days and months in working on and reviewing documents mostly pertaining to the pension, without his knowledge we would not have achieved this outcome, so I thank him for all of his trips to Akron and his working weekends to make sure our members were treated fairly. Joe Kristian assisted Glenn as they talked through the issues to make sure nothing was missed; I know Joe did far more work on this issue than I will probably ever know and I appreciate his dedication to the members for doing so. Shaun Majors and Bill Lacy played a lesser role but every piece was important so I thank them also. 

Thank you to all of the IBEW Local 29 members at Beaver Valley Nuclear plant for your support through this process, by us sticking together it showed the Company that they would not be able to divide and conquer Local 29. Solidarity is what gives Union's their strength and I am proud to say Local 29 has shown that solidarity and strength when it matters the most. Please continue to always work safely and professionally everyday as an IBEW member. 

Kenn Bradley,

Business Manager

Ohio Legislation Employee Update

We want to share an important development that bolsters FirstEnergy Solutions’ efforts to keep our nuclear plants open in Ohio for the long-term. A bill was introduced in the Ohio Statehouse today that recognizes the important and vital role nuclear energy, along with many other clean energy sources, plays in providing clean, safe, and reliable carbon-free energy to Ohioans. As we assess the merits of the bill, FES remains committed to finding a legislative solution that maximizes the economic and environmental benefits to the citizens of Ohio and enables our nuclear plants to continue operating for years to come; while protecting 4,300 high-wage jobs.

FES is grateful to have the support of you, our employees, who have become effective advocates by calling and writing your legislators to explain the importance of the plants to our communities. Making your voices heard will make a difference. For employees who want to find out how you too can take action, please visit the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance’s website

https://www.protectohiocleanenergyjobs.org/, which provides a guide on how to reach out to your state representative and other forms of advocacy.

While this new legislation is an important and significant step in securing the future of FES and allowing us to continue serving Ohioans; more work needs to be done. We are hopeful that with the continued support of the community and our legislators, FES will be able to obtain the legislative relief needed to keep our plants running for the next 20 years or more.

First Energy Restructuring Update

Dear FES/FENOC Employees:

Over the past two weeks we have reached several important milestones in our path towards emergence from bankruptcy and building a strong company for the future.

On Wednesday, the Ohio House of Representative passed House Bill 6. The bill would create an Ohio Clean Energy Authority and provide for the awarding of credits to our Ohio nuclear plants for each megawatt hour of generation we produce. The additional support would position us to keep those plants open and continue generating carbon free energy well into the future. The process now moves on to the Ohio Senate for consideration. Our goal is to have the legislative process in Ohio completed by the end of June.

I want to thank the many employees who participated in our advocacy events, including hosting plant tours, traveling to Columbus, testifying before the House, and contacting their state legislators to show support for the bill. Employee participation has played a critical role in convincing key legislators in the Ohio House to pass this bill.

Last week, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the Company’s Disclosure Statement for the Plan of Reorganization. This approval keeps us on track to successfully emerge from the Chapter 11 process before the end of the year.

The Court approval authorizes us to begin soliciting votes for the Plan of Reorganization. We will soon begin mailing copies of the Plan, related materials and voting ballots to all eligible creditors. Once the voting process is concluded, the Court will next consider confirmation of the Plan at hearings currently scheduled on August 20 and 21, 2019.

Preparation for our separation from FirstEnergy continues. We are working through an RFP process to contract with benefit providers with the goal of providing benefits that are both competitive and cost effective. At the same time, we have already begun posting the positions necessary to staff our shared services functions. Postings will continue in several waves throughout the next few months as we work towards building the shared services groups necessary to operate as a separate company.

Each of these milestones moves us closer to emergence as a new company. Over the next several months, all parts of the Company will have activities that will propel us closer to the finish. While we work to complete all the necessary conditions and requirements, we must continue to remain focused on our customers and safety. Please continue to look out for the safety of yourself and your fellow workers. I know I can count on every single employee to do just that.

John Judge

Supporting Legislative Efforts in Ohio

Below is a message from Beaver Valley Site Vice President Rod Penfield

There has been a lot of activity in the last few months with respect to the nuclear industry, specifically the legislative efforts in Ohio and Pennsylvania. While the work in Harrisburg is on pause, our neighbors to the west are making progress.

This week, the Ohio House will conduct a hearing on House Bill 6 (HB6). The bill would create the Ohio
Clean Air Program designed to provide incentives to build and maintain power plants that have zero or
reduced CO2 emissions. The language also provides for a $9 credit per Mw-hour of CO2-free electricity
the plants generate. The bill could be voted out of committee as soon as tomorrow or this weekend.
As we know, the two Ohio nuclear plants—Perry and Davis-Besse—collectively generate 90 percent of
the state’s carbon-free power and support close to 4,000 direct and indirect jobs. So, you can see the
importance of getting this bill passed. And, any positive steps in Ohio would undoubtedly help with our
ongoing fight in Pennsylvania by showing our elected officials in Harrisburg that it CAN be done.
What happens in Ohio will have an effect in Pennsylvania. Some of you live in Ohio but work here in
Pennsylvania. You can play an important role in moving things forward. I encourage you to reach out to
your legislators and let them know you work in the industry and how plant closures will affect you personally. Please follow this link to lend your voice to this important effort:

Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance
For everyone else at Beaver Valley, I ask you to continue supporting our colleagues in Ohio and keep participating when possible in Pennsylvania.

Remember, We're in this together.

Unions' Contracts Hold Up FirstEnergy Ch. 11 Confirmation

Law360 (August 27, 2019, 4:35 PM EDT) -- An Ohio bankruptcy judge has ruled that FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. must decide how its union contracts will be dealt with in Chapter 11 before the company's reorganization plan can be confirmed. 

In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Alan Koschik denied FirstEnergy's request to put off its decision on whether to assume or reject the collective bargaining agreements until after its plan is confirmed, saying he was "skeptical" of the power generation company's interpretation of the law and that it would be "unwise" to grant the request in any case. 

"Confirmation of the plan should not leave the CBAs in limbo over the objection of the unions," he said. 

FirstEnergy filed for Chapter 11 protection at the end of March 2018, aiming to reduce more than $3 billion in funded debt and become part of a fully regulated business. The company owns and operates seven power plants in the nonregulated power generation industry, from which they sell power to wholesale and retail customers throughout the mid-Atlantic and Midwest. 

The company has submitted a plan to emerge from bankruptcy with a $2.2 billion debt-for-equity swap and a $1.1 billion settlement of a complex series of creditor disputes, but earlier this month two unions representing workers at two of the utility's nuclear plants filed an objection, arguing among other things that the plan fails to either assume or reject their contracts. 

"Debtors have not contended that they must reject the CBAs in order to reorganize, but, by parsing their language, attempt to reserve the right to do so later, seeking the benefits of assumption without assuming, and avoiding the risks of rejection, without rejecting," they said. 

In a reply to objections filed a week later, FirstEnergy argued the reorganization will leave it unable to provide the retirement benefits in the contracts and that the unions have not agreed to the changes that would allow assumption. It argued the law allows it to ask for more time for negotiation past the confirmation date, with assumption or rejection of the contracts conditional on the results. 

"Courts routinely confirm plans of reorganization in large chapter 11 cases that reserve the debtors' and reorganized debtors' rights to modify lists of assumed or rejected contracts up to and beyond the effective date," it said. 

In his ruling, Judge Koschik said after hearing both sides' arguments at a hearing on Friday he would uphold the union objection.

"The court is skeptical of the debtors' suggested interpretation because the statute appears to offer a non-debtor counterparty to a contract the opportunity to ask the bankruptcy court to accelerate the deadline for the trustee or debtor-in-possession to make its assumption/rejection election, not to grant the debtor-in possession leave for additional time to do so," he said. 

Judge Koschik said in any case it would "not be prudent" to confirm, as FirstEnergy has said it cannot assume the contracts as written. 

"In this unique setting, even if it were within the court's discretion to grant the debtors leave to decide whether to assume or reject a contract after plan confirmation notwithstanding a counterparty's objection, it would be unwise to do so with respect to the CBAs at issue in this case," he said. 

Counsel for the unions and representatives for FirstEnergy did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday. 

The unions are represented by Joyce Goldstein and Richard L. Stoper Jr. of Goldstein Gragel LLC. 

FirstEnergy is represented by Marc B. Merklin, Kate M. Bradley and Bridget A. Franklin of Brouse McDowell LPA, and Ira Dizengoff, Lisa Beckerman, Brad Kahn, Scott Alberino and Kate Doorley of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. 

The case is In re: FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. et al., case number 5: 18-bk-50757, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  

By Rick Archer 

Supporting Legislative Efforts in Ohio

Friday, June 28, 2019

Below is a message from Beaver Valley Site Vice President Rod Penfield

There has been a lot of activity in the last few months with respect to the nuclear industry, specifically the legislative efforts in Ohio and Pennsylvania. While the work in Harrisburg is on pause, our neighbors to the west are making progress.

This week, the Ohio House will conduct a hearing on House Bill 6 (HB6). The bill would create the Ohio
Clean Air Program designed to provide incentives to build and maintain power plants that have zero or
reduced CO2 emissions. The language also provides for a $9 credit per Mw-hour of CO2-free electricity
the plants generate. The bill could be voted out of committee as soon as tomorrow or this weekend.
As we know, the two Ohio nuclear plants—Perry and Davis-Besse—collectively generate 90 percent of
the state’s carbon-free power and support close to 4,000 direct and indirect jobs. So, you can see the
importance of getting this bill passed. And, any positive steps in Ohio would undoubtedly help with our
ongoing fight in Pennsylvania by showing our elected officials in Harrisburg that it CAN be done.
What happens in Ohio will have an effect in Pennsylvania. Some of you live in Ohio but work here in
Pennsylvania. You can play an important role in moving things forward. I encourage you to reach out to
your legislators and let them know you work in the industry and how plant closures will affect you personally. Please follow this link to lend your voice to this important effort:

Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance
For everyone else at Beaver Valley, I ask you to continue supporting our colleagues in Ohio and keep participating when possible in Pennsylvania.

Remember, We're in this together.

First Energy Restructuring Update

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Dear FES/FENOC Employees:

Over the past two weeks we have reached several important milestones in our path towards emergence from bankruptcy and building a strong company for the future.

On Wednesday, the Ohio House of Representative passed House Bill 6. The bill would create an Ohio Clean Energy Authority and provide for the awarding of credits to our Ohio nuclear plants for each megawatt hour of generation we produce. The additional support would position us to keep those plants open and continue generating carbon free energy well into the future. The process now moves on to the Ohio Senate for consideration. Our goal is to have the legislative process in Ohio completed by the end of June.

I want to thank the many employees who participated in our advocacy events, including hosting plant tours, traveling to Columbus, testifying before the House, and contacting their state legislators to show support for the bill. Employee participation has played a critical role in convincing key legislators in the Ohio House to pass this bill.

Last week, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the Company’s Disclosure Statement for the Plan of Reorganization. This approval keeps us on track to successfully emerge from the Chapter 11 process before the end of the year.

The Court approval authorizes us to begin soliciting votes for the Plan of Reorganization. We will soon begin mailing copies of the Plan, related materials and voting ballots to all eligible creditors. Once the voting process is concluded, the Court will next consider confirmation of the Plan at hearings currently scheduled on August 20 and 21, 2019.

Preparation for our separation from FirstEnergy continues. We are working through an RFP process to contract with benefit providers with the goal of providing benefits that are both competitive and cost effective. At the same time, we have already begun posting the positions necessary to staff our shared services functions. Postings will continue in several waves throughout the next few months as we work towards building the shared services groups necessary to operate as a separate company.

Each of these milestones moves us closer to emergence as a new company. Over the next several months, all parts of the Company will have activities that will propel us closer to the finish. While we work to complete all the necessary conditions and requirements, we must continue to remain focused on our customers and safety. Please continue to look out for the safety of yourself and your fellow workers. I know I can count on every single employee to do just that.

John Judge

Ohio Legislation Employee Update

Friday, April 19, 2019

We want to share an important development that bolsters FirstEnergy Solutions’ efforts to keep our nuclear plants open in Ohio for the long-term. A bill was introduced in the Ohio Statehouse today that recognizes the important and vital role nuclear energy, along with many other clean energy sources, plays in providing clean, safe, and reliable carbon-free energy to Ohioans. As we assess the merits of the bill, FES remains committed to finding a legislative solution that maximizes the economic and environmental benefits to the citizens of Ohio and enables our nuclear plants to continue operating for years to come; while protecting 4,300 high-wage jobs.

FES is grateful to have the support of you, our employees, who have become effective advocates by calling and writing your legislators to explain the importance of the plants to our communities. Making your voices heard will make a difference. For employees who want to find out how you too can take action, please visit the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance’s website

https://www.protectohiocleanenergyjobs.org/, which provides a guide on how to reach out to your state representative and other forms of advocacy.

While this new legislation is an important and significant step in securing the future of FES and allowing us to continue serving Ohioans; more work needs to be done. We are hopeful that with the continued support of the community and our legislators, FES will be able to obtain the legislative relief needed to keep our plants running for the next 20 years or more.

FirstEnergy Solutions would emerge from bankruptcy owned by its creditors

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co and affiliate FirstEnergy Solutions have been under the protection of a U.S. bankruptcy court for nearly a year and have now proposed creation of a new, restructured company owned by its creditors. The question could come to a vote of all creditors in May. The battle flared up this week, just days after FENOC shut down the Perry nuclear power plant for for biennial refueling and maintenance at a cost of $60 million. Some 1,300 additional workers will assist Perry employees. In addition to major maintenance, crews will replace 300 ofthe 748 fuel rod assemblies in the reactor's core, shown here in this 2015 photo.

By John Funk, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND -- FirstEnergy Solutions and its creditors hope FES can emerge from 

bankruptcy as an entirely new company, debt-free and maybe free of its union contracts at its nuclear power plants.

The new company would be entirely free of FirstEnergy, have its own board of directors and issue its own stock, according to initial company filings last month and during the past weekend.

The reorganization, the subject of what is sure to be a contentious hearing next week and possibly up for a vote of all FES creditors in May, is already the target of heavy criticism from labor, consumer and environmental groups.

The Utility Workers Union of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers representing employees at the company's four nuclear and two remaining coal plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania noted in objections filed Tuesday that the re-organization plan is designed deliberately to "breach the collective bargaining agreements n at the plants by not requiring that the new company accept the contracts.

And that could pose safety issues, especially at the nuclear plants, the unions warned.

Operating power plants without the trained workforce that now exists by virtue / of the tenure and stability of experienced unionized employees introduces serious risk into the future operations of the plants," the unions wrote.

They also are arguing that when FES recently sold off two of its smaller power plants it followed the letter of the contracts, which required the buyers to accept, at least initially, the contracts as they were written.

If FES insists on this course, the unions have the right under bankruptcy case law to file for damages "that will impair the recovery [of money owed] for other creditors,'1 Cleveland-based labor lawyer Joyce Goldstein wrote.

A group of Ohio and regional consumer and environmental groups led by the Midwest-based Environmental Law and Policy Center has objected to the re-organization plan because it appears to assume that the new company will own and continue to operate its four nuclear plants and two coal-fired plants.

But that is not a certainty, they argue, and further point out that the company has until the end of this month to report the fiscal health of the decommissioning funds that by law each must accompany each reactor, whatever company owns it. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, relying on 2016 figures from the company, earlier said the funds were adequate -- but that was an analysis based on the plants continuing to operate. FES has officially announced that it will close all of the plants by the fall of 2021.

One reality that the environmental and consumer groups are not acknowledging in their objection is the company's effort to persuade at least Ohio lawmakers to create new subsidies to support the continued operations of the plants. Proposed legislation is expected by the end of March.

The Ohio Consumers' Counsel also has objected to the re-organization plan as it now stands and has sided with the environmental and consumer groups.

"The current disclosure statement contains insufficient details for parties in interest to assess the risks that these decommissioning costs are not being sufficiently funded under the Plan. If the power plant decommissioning costs are not being sufficiently funded under the FirstEnergy Debtors' Plan, then OCC is concerned - and the Court should be concerned - that there may later be an effort to make Ohioans pay for these power plant decommissioning costs," the OCC wrote in a filing Tuesday.

An FES spokeswoman said in an email that the company believes "that the cost of doing nothing to save the nuclear plants will ultimately cost Ohio taxpayers more in the long run. Closing those plants will cost 4000 jobs, affect the state GDP and take out 93% of the current carbon-free energy produced in Ohio.

FirstEnergy Solutions restructuring plan hits roadblock as federal agencies object

Thursday, March 14, 2019

FirstEnergy Solutions faces heavy opposition from federal authorities over the restructuring plan it has proposed in federal bankruptcy court. The company's hopes for a May 6 vote by major creditor groups on its proposal to create a new company, with its own stock, now appear unrealistic, given the across-the-board opposition by the U.S. EPA, the NRC, FERC, the SEC and the court's own U.S. Trustee. The FES proposal would include the continued operation of its nuclear power plants, including the Perry nuclear plant.  (The Plain Dealer)

By John Funk, The Plain Dealer 

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- If FirstEnergy Solutions thought surviving bankruptcy restructuring was going to be easy, it is now in for a beating by a growing army of federal and state agencies that say the company’s plan is nearly opaque and actually violates the law.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the federal bankruptcy court’s U.S. Trustee all have filed lengthly and strongly worded objections to a restructuring plan the company rolled out Tuesday.

The EPA and NRC also want the court to ignore the ambitious schedule of hearings the company is seeking that would put the proposal up for a vote of creditors by May 6. The federal authorities said in filings late Tuesday that the court ought to extend the schedule by six months so that objectors can grill the company for more information.

This battalion of agencies appears to agree with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and a group of consumer and environmental groups led by the Midwest-based Environmental Law and Policy Center. They also found the FES restructuring plan short on detail and silent on how much it would cost to clean up the environment if the coal and nuclear plants are closed. The Sierra Club has independently objected on environmental grounds.

The ELPC has argued for nearly a year that if FES shuts down its power plants, as it previously said it would by 2021, the decommissioning funds for the clean-up at the nuclear plant sites will not be sufficient, partly because the long-term conservatively managed investment funds have assumed the plants would run much longer.

At the heart of many of the objections concerning the opaqueness of the restructuring plan is a deal that FES struck with its parent company FirstEnergy and major creditors last summer. That deal, approved by the court last September, uses a broad brush to wipe away past debt and obligations, known and unknown, that creditors independently might want to bring against the companies.

The SEC argues that the FES restructuring plan is against the law because it eliminates any responsibility of “non-debtor third parties,” such as FirstEnergy executives and directors, of any liability “with respect to any acts taken or omitted in connection with or related to the FE settlement . . . by eliminating liability for negligent conduct, the [clause in the agreement] effectively releases parties from, among other things, violations of the federal securities laws that are based on strict liability or simple negligence."

The FERC, which has appealed an earlier ruling by Bankruptcy Judge Alan Koschik that allowed FES to walk away from a long-term commitment to buy power from coal-fired power plants owned by all of Ohio’s utilities, objected to the FES restructuring plan because it does not detail the financial impact on the company if the FERC appeal prevails. The FERC also complained that the FES plan eliminates the ability of individual creditors to object.

Total FES debt is about $3.6 billion.

Federal attorneys for the NRC and U.S. EPA, working with lawyers for Ohio and Pennsylvania, argue that FirstEnergy itself has significant independent liability to the government under environmental laws. They contend that terms of the restructuring agreement that let FE off the hook are illegal.

The U.S. Trustee similarly argues that the restructuring plan, as presented by the company, contains too many provisions releasing FE from any responsibility. The Trustee also argues that the plan appears to circumvent the normal bankruptcy reorganization process.

Unions representing employees at the FES power plants have also objected to the restructuring plan because it appears to have been written to allow the emerging new company to ignore existing union contracts. The company, which has announced it would shut down its plants (unless it wins a state subsidy) previously tried to develop a bonus plan to encourage employees to stay in their jobs until the last day of operation. The plan excluded all unionized employees. The court threw out the plan.

A hearing on these objections is scheduled for this coming Tuesday.

Beaver Valley – KERP

Monday, December 3, 2018

Today 11/30/2018 the Bankruptcy Judge accepted the agreed to KERP which includes union members from 3 different locals, IBEW 29, IBEW 245, UWUA 270. This is a big victory for the men and women we represent even though everyone did not get included in the payments, everyone that is a part of these unions should be proud of what was accomplished.

FENOC (First Energy Nuclear Operating Company) initially intended to give the KERP (Key Employee Retention Payment) only to non-union personnel but it had to be approved by the Bankruptcy court first. The Union’s and their attorney went to court and objected to the fact no union members were included in the KERP, and that it was unfair discrimination against workers just because they are part of a union. No one before us has ever won making this argument in the history of American bankruptcy law.

Although we won, we still didn't have a strong legal position that entitled us to any particular scope or level of benefits.  We just won in having THEIR plan defeated, not in getting any specific benefits for US. When the Court denied the Company's KERP motion in September, the Court made it clear that there was NO requirement to provide a retention payment for ALL workers, just for those who were deemed "essential" by the Company.  We repeatedly made demands to expand the coverage that the Company was offering-- and to get a higher level of benefits for everyone, but the Company only offered very limited benefits to a few workers. After their KERP was rejected by the Court, the value of their initial proposal was $4 million for all three plants. We were able to work with the Creditors Committee to expand the scope to over half of all union members (53%) and the benefits to over $26 million.  If we didn't sign the MOA to agree to this, we risked getting absolutely nothing because the Company would not have unilaterally implemented this plan.  It just would have provided benefits to management and told the Court that they tried to give us something, but we refused to accept it.  Most importantly, by agreeing to this MOA, we got something for a bunch of people but gave up NOTHING.  Yes, it would have been better to get more, but we couldn't walk away from this and let our members get nothing just because we couldn't get as much as we would have liked -- no different than when the Local 29 ROs got a retention benefit in 2016 and no one else got a penny!

The bottom line is, it’s unfortunate that everyone didn’t get a piece of the pie and that others wanted the whole pie but only got a piece. I am hopeful that all of the scheduled payments are not made, since that will mean the Plant will remain open and everyone will continue to get a good paycheck. I would hope that everyone is thankful that we as a Union along with our attorney would take on a Company as big as First Energy and get as much as we could but also be smart enough to not walk away just because we didn’t get everything we wanted. Think about it………..from $0  to  $26,000,000, (IBEW 29 members will receive about $13,000,000) if you’re not happy that a union brother or sister got a piece of that instead of one of your bosses, then you’re probably on the wrong side of the fence.

There are still more hurdles to get over while going through this bankruptcy but with the members continued support and solidarity we can get through almost anything.

KERP Agreement

Solidarity,

Kenn Bradley

IBEW 29 Business Manager

Restructuring Update: Pension Benefit FAQ

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Benefits

1. During 2019, if FES emerges from bankruptcy as a standalone company, what happens to health care and other benefits that employees are currently signing up for in 2019? For example, will employees continue to have health insurance through FE with our deductibles spent for the year still intact or do we start over with new health insurance and new deductibles?

The health care and other benefits will continue through the effective date of a Plan of Reorganization. The benefits that will be offered post-effective date have not been determined but they would be through different plans than the current health care and other benefits.

2. Will we have an annual bonus (short term incentive) in March?

Short term incentive compensation under the 2018 Short Term Incentive Plan will be paid on or prior to February 28, 2019. The company expects to have a similar Short Term Incentive Plan in 2019.

3. As we get further into the restructuring of our company and further away from FirstEnergy, how will our 401(k)s be affected? Will we continue to receive the FE match of 6% and when will we know what the new company will be providing for us with a match?

Prior to the effective date of a Plan of Reorganization, there will no change with respect to the 401(k) plan. FE will discontinue the match after the effective date. Options post-split will depend on terms of the new 401(k) plan post-effective date, including whether there is any match.

4. The Employee Compensation & Benefits Handbook states that if an employee separates employment for any reason other than death, they will not receive payment for any unused PTO, purchased PTO or deferred PTO, unless otherwise noted under a FirstEnergy plan or program. If we have unused PTO in 2019 and FENOC completes its separation from FirstEnergy during 2019, will unused PTO still be available, or will it be forfeited as the Handbook states?

No determination has been made with respect to the paid time off policy post-effective date.

5. In this season of open enrollment for 2019 benefits, how does the termination of FirstEnergy Shared Services associated with the bankruptcy proceedings affect FES or NewCo personnel benefits for 2019?

The debtors, including FES, and FirstEnergy Service Company are parties to an amended shared services agreement which provides for the continuation of shared services through June 2020, unless the debtors choose to terminate certain categories of shared services prior to that date. So, there has been no termination of shared services with respect to the debtors, including FES.

Click here to download the complete restructuring update.

First Energy Restructuring Update: Important Progress

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Employee Update

I’m writing to share some important progress in our restructuring efforts.

We have reached an agreement to sell our West Lorain Facility and related assets to Vermillion Power, LLC, an affiliate of Starwood Energy Group, for a purchase price of $144 million in cash plus certain closing adjustments, subject to higher or otherwise better bids.

We believe the proposed sale represents the best path forward to preserve and realize the value of the West Lorain Facility and the related assets and, in turn, to maximize the recoveries for our stakeholders.

Starwood Energy Group is a private investment firm based in Greenwich, CT that specializes in energy infrastructure investments and that understands and values the West Lorain business. Through its general opportunity funds and other affiliated investment vehicles, Starwood Energy Group has raised equity commitments in excess of $3 billion and has executed transactions totaling more than $7 billion in enterprise value.

To complete the sale through a court-supervised bankruptcy auction process, FG has filed a motion for the implementation of bidding procedures to allow other companies to have an opportunity to submit bids through a Court-supervised, competitive bidding process. The bidding procedures motion calls for all qualified bids to be submitted by January 9, 2019, with an auction to be held January 15, 2019, if competing bids are received. Any objections to the sale transaction must be filed by January 18, 2019. The sale hearing is scheduled to be held on January 25, 2019, subject to Court approval and may change accordingly.

We anticipate that the final sale and transition of the assets will be completed in the first half of 2019. The transaction is subject to Bankruptcy Court approval, along with all additional necessary approvals, including approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Hart- Scott-Rodino.

During the sale process, West Lorain will continue to operate in the ordinary course of business.

First Energy Restructuring Update

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Continuing our effort to share restructuring information as we move through this process, we want to bring you up to date on some recent developments.

At the most recent FES Board meeting, two important issues were considered:

  • Bruce Mansfield: We decided to accelerate the deactivation schedule for Bruce Mansfield Units 1 & 2 from June 1, 2021, to February 5, 2019. Notice has been provided to PJM of the deactivation and we have purchased enough replacement capacity to cover our obligations with PJM through their originally contemplated deactivation dates in 2021.
  • Mansfield Unit 3 remains on schedule for a June 1, 2021 deactivation. As we announced on August 29, we do not anticipate this will change. Going forward, we will be focused on improving the operating efficiency of a safe and reliable Unit 3 only operation.
  • FES and our creditors are working diligently to continue to look for opportunities to keep our remaining fossil and nuclear units in operation beyond their currently scheduled deactivation dates. We are optimistic that under the right circumstances, there may be an opportunity to keep the units running for an extended period.
  • We are pleased to report that we are making significant progress in our negotiations with a few of our key creditor groups. Our goal is to finalize a Plan of Reorganization in the coming months and emerge from bankruptcy mid-year 2019. We hope to have a clearer view of FES’s future ownership structure by as early as late 2018.
  • We wanted to let the entire team know we are taking positive steps towards a path to emergence from Chapter 11. We are not there yet, and we have many hurdles to conquer to finalize the Plan of Reorganization. One such hurdle is our ongoing request for legislative support for our nuclear plants. Our team is working diligently in Columbus and Harrisburg to obtain the needed support.
  • Keep sending your questions to the Employee Mailbox – our practice has been to hold questions until we have five or six and then we create an FAQ. We have received several inquiries regarding pension issues and have begun working on a Pension FAQ to address as many questions as possible in short order.
Beaver Valley Update: FENOC Key Employee Retention Plan (KERP)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Soon after the bankruptcy case was filed, FENOC asked the Court to approve a key employee retention plan (KERP) that would pay approximately $100 million to about 1000 salaried employees to encourage them to continue working, despite the bankruptcy and the deactivation notices. The proposal would have covered about 70% of the salaried workforce. FENOC proposed nothing for any union workers.

Acting collectively, the Unions at Perry (UWUA Local 270), Beaver Valley (IBEW Local 29), and Davis Besse (IBEW Locals 245 and 1413) filed an objection with the Court, arguing that the KERP was unfairly discriminatory and should be rejected. The Court was presented with witnesses and legal arguments from the Unions and the Company.  Although the law in these situations heavily favors the Company, the Unions won and the Court denied FENOC’s proposed KERP. The Court told the Company that if it wanted a KERP, it needed to go back to the drawing board and try again.

Following the Court’s rejection of its proposed KERP, the Company and the Unions began to meet and exchange proposals for a revised KERP that would include union workers. While the Unions proposed to cover ALL union workers in a fair and non-discriminatory manner, the Company proposed to provide very limited benefits to only a few job classifications.  At some point, the Company proposed to provide minimal benefits to all union workers but only if the Unions agreed to gut important provisions of our contracts. At the same time, the Company has continued to push its same proposal for salaried workers.  Given the Company’s approach, the Unions and the Company have made no progress toward reaching any agreement. Throughout the process, by the comments and proposals, the Unions have felt that the Company has been insulting and disrespectful to the Unions and our members.

Meanwhile, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors has decided to take an active role in coming up with its own proposal for a KERP that, they say, would be less unfair and discriminatory, although not likely to include all workers. The Unions have met with and provided information to the creditors committee’s lawyers and financial advisors, with the hope that they may develop an approach that would be more acceptable than anything that the Company has proposed so far.

The Company has told the Court that it plans to file a revised KERP motion on November 9, 2018.  The Court has scheduled a hearing for November 30 to consider the new motion. We have no idea what they intend to propose – and surely hope that it is not what they have proposed to us so far.

This entire process is unprecedented. Never before in the history of our Unions have we worked together in this way. Through our strength and coordination, we were able to achieve an amazing victory in defeating the Company’s proposed KERP.  Although at this point we cannot predict the outcome, we wanted to provide a brief overview of where we are and how we got here. 

First Energy September KERP

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Your Questions on the 2018 FENOC KERP

In an Employee Update last week, we noted that Bankruptcy Court Judge Alan Koschik declined to approve our 2018 FENOC KERP as proposed. You have asked a number of questions about the ruling and the steps we are taking in response. Below we address some of those questions.

Why did the Bankruptcy Court not approve the KERP?

The Court concluded that FENOC did not present enough evidence to justify why some employees were included in the KERP and others – specifically, unionized employees – were not. Importantly, the Court did not suggest that any employees now included in the KERP be removed, and it did not suggest that all employees be included. Rather, the Court said that the Company must provide enough detailed evidence about employee job functions to support its decisions on whether to include or exclude them from the KERP.

Click here to download the full Sept KERP

Judge dismisses FirstEnergy Solutions nuclear plant bonus plan, would exclude union members

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co., now in its fifth month under bankruptcy protection, has proposed generous bonuses for key employees -- but none represented by a union -- at the Perry nuclear power plant, the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo and the Beaver Valley nuclear plant near Pittsburgh. FENOC has argued the bonuses, up to 100 percent of pay, are necessary to keep employees working until the plants shut down. The unions objected to the exclusion of their members. Bankruptcy Judge Alan Koschik has rejected the plan and given the company the option of changing it or appealing his decision.  (Plain Dealer file)

By John Funk, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio --The FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. has failed to convince a bankruptcy judge that its plan to give bonuses to nearly 1,000 nuclear plant workers, none of them union members, makes good business sense.

FENOC had proposed spending about $100 million to bankroll a bonus plan, known as a KERP, or Key Employee Retention Plan, under bankruptcy law, to give about 1,000 of its 2,300 nuclear plant workers generous bonuses if they continued to work until the reactors are shut down in 2020 and 2021.

The company is planning to shut down the Davis-Besse nuclear plant, east of Toledo, on June 1, 2020, the Perry nuclear plant east of Cleveland and one of the two-reactor Beaver Valley plant near Pittsburgh on June 1, 2021, and the second Beaver Valley reactor on Oct. 31, 2021.

In a decision late Tuesday, Judge Alan Koschik wrote that the plan would not only be discriminatory, but also that the company had not proven it would make good business sense.

Paul Harden, FENOC senior vice president and chief operating officer, testified that when a committee decided who would be offered a bonus it considered whether an employee was more likely to be able to find another job before shutdown, whether the position the employee left was crucial to operations, and whether there were other qualified employees who could fill that job until shutdown. It was a job function analysis, he stressed, made without reference to an employee's union status.

"We are disappointed with the court's ruling and are evaluating our next steps," said a FENOC spokesman.

That none of the 991 tapped for a bonus was a union member just worked out that way and was not deliberate, he said.

Koschik did not see it that way.

"It is undisputed that the proposed KERP discriminates between union and non-union personnel ... while no union employees would receive any bonus," he wrote.

The judge noted, for example, that the plan would have given enormous bonuses to reactor operators at the Perry plant, but not to operators at Davis-Besse and Beaver Valley. The difference, he noted, is that these critical jobs are staffed by unionized reactor operators at Davis-Besse and Beaver Valley, while those at Perry are not in a union.

The Court's concern is that while Debtor FENOC is willing to spend upwards of $100 million to retain employees, it proposes to "exclude a set of employees it has already determined are the most critical to retain," he wrote.

"The burden is on the Debtors [FENOC] to prove a sound business reason for this discrimination, i.e., that this discrimination was not unfair. They did not do so."

The judge noted that the KERP as proposed "relies too often on stereotypes instead of reasonable judgement."

That may have been an apparent reference to an assertion during several days of hearings by labor lawyer Joyce Goldstein, representing the plant unions, that "the current plan is based on a lot of speculation - and, significantly, that speculation has been colored by prejudicial, class-based stereotypes, not objective evidence."

Koschik wrote that when reviewing KERP bonus plans, bankruptcy courts must evaluate whether the plan "bears a reasonable relationship to its purpose" (retaining employees), whether it is consistent with industry standards and whether it discriminates unfairly.

"The evidence does not show that the Debtors satisfy these criteria in this case, and the Court finds that the Debtors' own caginess in presenting their evidence is a significant reason for that."

Goldstein expressed gratitude for the decision.

"We are grateful for the court's decision and hopeful that FirstEnergy will recognize the value of its union workers by offering them a meaningful retention program to encourage them to remain employed. Their continued employment is critical not just to the union workers and their families but to maintain the safety of our communities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. "

Restructuring Update for Sept 13th

Friday, September 14, 2018

This week we’re answering questions that we’ve received to the Employee emailbox. As we continue to move through the restructuring, we encourage you to continue sending your questions to the employee emailbox to be included in an Employee Update. If you’re wondering about an issue, chances are that somebody else is too.

Before we move to the Q&A portion of the Update, we have an announcement regarding a transition in the senior executive ranks: Chief Financial Officer Kevin Warvell will be returning to FE as Director of Pennsylvania Rates and Regulatory Affairs at the end of the year. An executive search is currently underway for his successor. An announcement will be made when the new CFO starts with FES. We expect Kevin will ensure a smooth transition when the change occurs.

Click here to download the entire update.

Restructuring Update for August 9th

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

After last week’s announcement of the Settlement Agreement, we have received several questions submitted to the FES employee question email box.  Below, you will find answers to the recent questions regarding the impact of the Settlement on employees and the status of the restructuring.  

  1. FES, FENOC and the other companies (the debtors) are separated from the FirstEnergy consolidated statements, are these entities now separate, privately-held (not publicly traded) companies owned by the Creditors?

    The debtors continue to be owned by FirstEnergy Corp., which will continue to own the debtors until the effective date of a plan of reorganization.

  2. Does FirstEnergy reserve the right to back track and include FES, FENOC and the other debtors in their consolidated statements? 

    On an accounting basis, because of the bankruptcy filing, the entities are not included in the FirstEnergy Corp. consolidated financial statements. 

  3. Will the accounting situation change based on the revised FE/ FES /Creditor agreement and after the exit from bankruptcy? 

    Upon the effective date of a plan of reorganization, it is anticipated that the reorganized debtors will no longer be owned by FirstEnergy Corp. and would be owned by its creditors. 

  4. Is FES acting as a holding company for the debtor companies?

    FES is the parent company for all the debtors other than FES and FENOC, which are owned by FirstEnergy Corp.

  5. How will health benefits for 2019 and beyond be handled?

    No changes in the health benefits are expected to occur prior to an effective date of a plan of reorganization.

  6. Will FirstEnergy continue to act as the sponsor/interface with the administrators of the HSA and FSA accounts?

    Yes, so long as FirstEnergy Corp. owns the debtors.

  7. What activities are covered under the “shared services” contract?

    Shared services covers many departments and administrative activities including:  CFO Organization, Communications & Marketing, Controllers, Corporate, Customer Operations, External Affairs, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Rates & Regulatory Affairs, Generation Support and Supply Chain.

  8. Why was FENOC not included in the revised FE/FES/Creditor agreement related to any potential VERO prior to the effective date of the FES Restructuring Plan?

    Although deactivation notices were filed for all the nuclear units, they will continue to run until the deactivation date at a minimum.  We are currently working to retain FENOC personnel to operate the units through deactivation.  Currently, we don’t anticipate any significant staffing reductions at FENOC prior to deactivation.

  9. What are the Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP) and the Cash Balance Pension Plan discussed in the revised settlement?

    Non-qualified pension plans that have few employees or former employees of the debtors as participants/beneficiaries.

  10. At the time of the bankruptcy filing it was announced that FES employees would still participate in STIP.  With the complete separation just announced where is the pool of money coming from to fund the STIP?

    The debtors pay for the costs of the STIP for their employees. No changes for the STIP are expected for 2018 or 2019.

  11. Based on the news of the settlement with the creditors, once it is approved by the court, are we still FirstEnergy employees? 

Yes, all employees are still employees of their respective organizations – FES, FG and FENOC – until the effective date of the plan of reorganization. All employees will continue to participate in the FE Benefit Plans.

First Energy Restructuring Update

Friday, August 10, 2018

Last April, in the early weeks of our Chapter 11 process, two ad hoc groups of creditors reached a tentative settlement with FirstEnergy Corp., under which FE affirmed its responsibility to guarantee future benefits to FES, FG and FENOC employees under FE's Pension Plan, Executive Deferred Compensation Plan (EDCP) and Long-Term Incentive Programs (LTIP). FE also agreed to honor frozen and banked vacation claims and to pay claims under the Retiree Group Life Plan and, for certain retirees, the Retiree Medical Plan.

FES, FENOC and the other debtors and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors have negotiated certain changes to that tentative settlement and, as a result, have agreed to the modified settlement. The modified settlement will still need to be documented and submitted to the court for approval.

As part of the modified settlement, FE reaffirmed its earlier commitments to employees and former employees and expanded its guarantees in several important new ways:

  • Voluntary Enhanced Retirement Option (VERO): If FES offers a VERO in connection with any workforce reduction (other than with respect to FENOC employees) prior to the effective date of the FES Restructuring Plan, FE will cover the costs of the temporary pension enhancement portion of the VERO, capped at $1,500 per month per employee until age 65 or a minimum of two years. To be eligible, employees must reach age 58 by Dec. 31, 2019.
  • Pension Bridge: In 2017, FE put in place a "Pension Bridge," effective through June 30,2019, under which employees between ages 50 and 55 who are terminated because of a sale of the assets of their business unit would have their pensions bridged. Under the follow-up agreement, the effective date of the pension bridge would be extended through Dec. 31, 2020, and would also cover terminations resulting from a transfer of assets as well as a sale.
  • SERP and Cash Balance Plan: FE has agreed to pay obligations to current and former and former FES, FG and FENOC employees who participate in either the Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP) or the Cash Balance Pension Plan.
  • Retiree Medical Plan: The previous agreement is expanded to include certain represented retirees who receive healthcare or subsidies under union health plans.

All of the changes are positive for FES, FG and FENOC employees. We believe the enhanced settlement offers additional security at a time of uncertainty.

There are other significant provisions under the modified settlement which, while not affecting employees directly, are worth noting:

  • FE has agreed to credit nine months of FES shared-services costs, up to $112.5 million, beginning April 1, 2018.  The availability of shared services, if desired by FES, has been extended to June 30, 2020.  FE has also affirmed its cooperation with a separation of shared services and other support functions for FES.
  • The transfer of AES's interest in the Pleasants Power Plant to FES will go forward as initially contemplated in the April settlement, subject to FES's completion of due diligence.
  • FE will provide FES with $225 million in cash and $628 million of notes on the Plan Effective Date in exchange for a release of claims against FE.

As always, if you have questions, please address them to the Employee Mailbox and we will provide answers in the coming weeks.

FENOC Contract Vote

Friday, September 19, 2014

The FirstEnergy Nuclear contract for Beaver Valley Power Station members will be discussed and voted on Tuesday September 23rd with meetings being held at IBEW Local 712 Union Hall in Beaver PA. The meetings will be held at 8:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 4:30PM. A resume of the terms of the four year tentative agreement have been distributed to the membership at Beaver Valley for their review. We urge all FENOC members to attend to hear the discussion on the tentative agreement and ask any questions that they might have and to cast their vote. The Negotiating Committee unanimously recommends the new agreement.

Tentative Agreement reached on FirstEnergy Contract

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Late in the afternoon of Monday, September 15th, a tentative agreement was reached between Local 29 and FENOC (FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company). The agreement, if ratified by the affected members, will replace the current agreement which expires on September 30th of this year. The new agreement is for four years, and will expire on September 30, 2018. Highlights of the agreement include wage increases, shift differential and pension updates in each year. Also included are one time increases to meals, per diem and the safety allowance.

Agreement was reached on the Company's goal of eliminating retiree medical payments. The Company agreed to extend the existing Local 29 retiree medical for two years beyond their stated goal of elimination of all retiree medical payments for all employees by December 31, 2014. The new contract will allow pension eligible Local 29 members to continue to retire until December 31, 2016 and receive the existing retiree medical coverage until they reach age 65 and are Medicare eligible. Beginning January 1, 2017 a new program will begin to aid members in saving for future retiree medical expenses with an annual Company contribution into either the employee's Health Savings Account (HSA) or if they don't have an HSA, into their 401K account.

Several other contract changes are also included in the new agreement. Contract resumes are being prepared for distribution to the membership later this week  with all contract provisions detailed. Contract explanation meetings and a ratification vote will be held on Tuesday September 23rd at IBEW Local 712 Union Hall at 217 Sassafras Lane, Beaver, PA 15009. The Negotiating Committee unanimously recommends this four year agreement to the FENOC membership.

At the conclusion of those negotiations a slightly different committee, which included three newly organized work planners, continued with negotiations into the evening with the FENOC committee working on a first contract for the Planners. Progress was made on getting several contract articles in writing for this group. A schedule was agreed to for future meetings on this contract with the next meeting being held on the evening of Wednesday, October 1st. - Jeff Davis, Business Manager

Beaver Valley Rad Techs Reject Agreement

Sunday, September 15, 2013

On Thursday September 12th, The Radiation Technicians at Beaver Valley Power Station met with Local 29 Officers to review and vote on a proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Emergency Response Organization Augmentation. Part of the Radiation Technician duties are the monitoring of Radiological levels in and around the plant. In the event of any type of accident or incident at the plant that might release radioactivity to the atmosphere, these Radiation Technicians would be needed to survey not only on plant property but also out in the community. Should there ever be such a problem in off hours, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires each plant to have plans to deal with emergencies and have an adequate number of personnel available to deal with the situation. The NRC requires plants to have periodic drills to test the response to emergencies. There were some issues with Beaver Valley not having enough Radiation Technicians report in the required time frame in a couple past drills. In order to assure compliance with these requirements, the Company and Union met to try to find a way to meet the goal. The proposed MOA would have had enough Radiation Technicians on call to assure the proper response. The agreement would have raised the rates of the members in the department, step 9.3 from step 8.9 for First Class technicians, step 7.3 from step 6 for second class technicians, and moving the Lead Radiation Technician to a step 9.5 and creating more of these positions. The agreement also would have paid an additional hour of pay per day for those on call on any given day. The problem was the imposition on members home time, when on call they are required to report fit for duty within 45 minutes of the call. Also the required number to be on call for the size of the department would require people to possibly take call more than one week per month. The members overwhelmingly rejected the agreement due to  the imposition on their time at home.

Beaver Valley Operators Ratify Agreement

Friday, May 10, 2013

Operations members at Beaver Valley Power Station voted Wednesday, May 8, 2013, on a new Memorandum of Agreement which was passed overwhelmingly by the membership. This agreement raised the pay rate of Plant Operators, Nuclear Operators and Reactor Operators by $1.34 an hour.  All Operators that maintain their fire brigade qualifications will receive an extra $1.00 per hour.  A Senior Plant Operator rate of an extra $1.83 an hour above the Plant Operator new rate was also established.  The agreement also created an upgrade rate of an additional $1.75 per hour above their rate of pay for members that perform certain training functions. We, in exchange, agreed to 24 month lock ins when a member enters training for a Reactor Operator license and when a member becomes a Plant Operator but no incumbents are locked into their existing positions. New Auxiliary Equipment Operators entering those positions in the future will be locked in for 12 months. The lock ins mentioned will not apply to members progressing within the Operations Department. This agreement affects approximately 110 members in the Nuclear Operations Department.

FirstEnergy to Locate Mobile Maintenance Group in Western Pennsylvania

Sunday, May 22, 2011

AKRON, Ohio, May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) today announced plans to locate a power plant maintenance team in Western Pennsylvania.

The Mobile Maintenance Group will support the safe, reliable and efficient operation of FirstEnergy's electric generating plants. The group's 39 maintenance and outage support employees will be based in Rostraver Township, Pa., which demonstrates FirstEnergy's commitment to maintain jobs in Westmoreland County following its recent merger with Allegheny Energy.

"The Mobile Maintenance group will allow us to dispatch skilled, experienced employees wherever and whenever they are needed," said George Farah, vice president, Fossil Engineering and Construction. "From installing motors to assisting with plant outages, the new group will bring a fleet approach to our maintenance work and support the reliable operation of our generating plants."

A best practice identified by the FirstEnergy-Allegheny Energy employee merger integration teams, the mobile workforce will lower costs and provide operational flexibility. Scheduled for completion in the third quarter, the Rostraver facility will consist of office and warehouse space as well as an area to repair equipment.

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its ten electric distribution companies comprise the nation's largest investor-owned electric system. Its diverse generating fleet features non-emitting nuclear, scrubbed baseload coal, natural gas, and pumped- storage hydro and other renewables, and has a total generating capacity of over 23,000 megawatts.

Expansion OK'd for storing spent nuclear fuel at Beaver plant

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a major expansion of spent nuclear fuel storage capacity at FirstEnergy's Beaver Valley Unit 2 nuclear reactor in Shippingport, Beaver County.

The NRC action, announced Friday afternoon, allows the Akron, Ohio-based electric company to "rerack" its existing storage pool and install new higher density racks that will allow for underwater storage of up to 1,690 spent fuel assemblies or "bundles," an increase from the current capacity of 1,088.

That storage pool, which measures 53 feet long by 29 feet wide and 38 feet deep, contains 945 spent fuel bundles now.

Spent nuclear fuel has been accumulating at power plants for more than 50 years and is stored at all of the 103 nuclear power plants in the United States, including Beaver Valley, Three Mile Island and three others in Pennsylvania. Expansion of Beaver Valley Unit 1 spent fuel capacity was approved and completed in the early 1990s.

"(Nuclear power) plants all over the country are doing this," said Todd Schneider, a FirstEnergy spokesman. "It's a stop-gap measure that's necessary because there's no centralized national storage facility."

Mr. Schneider said the storage expansion requested by the company in April 2009 will provide up to 11 years of additional wet storage capacity for Unit 2. Work on removing the old rack and installing a new one will begin later this year or early next year and take several months to complete, he said.

In issuing the amendment, the NRC stated that "There is reasonable assurance. ... that the activities authorized by this amendment can be conducted without endangering the health and safety of the public. ..."

Neal Sheehan, an NRC spokesman, said the commission's three-year review of the company's spent fuel storage expansion request was not unusually lengthy but did include a number of highly technical issues related to how the higher density storage racks will affect the storage pools and the steel and concrete walls around it.

"Spent fuel is getting a great deal of attention because of what happened in Japan," Mr. Sheehan said. "But there's not a great deal of controversy about this one."

Mr. Schneider said spent fuel storage at the Japanese reactors was located above the reactors, which caused some problems.

"Ours are located at ground level in concrete and steel-lined pools in a completely different area of the plant," he said.

A nuclear fuel rod is as big around as a pencil and 14 feet long. Each fuel assembly or "bundle" contains 264 rods and each of the two Beaver Valley reactor cores contain 157 assemblies.

FirstEnergy replaces or "changes out" about one-third of the assemblies in each core every 18 months during refueling and the spent fuel bundles are placed in the pool where they are submerged under 23 feet of water.

The Beaver Valley Power Station Units 1 and 2, located along the Ohio River, 22 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, produce more than 1,800 megawatts of electric power. The two reactors at Beaver Valley power station went online in 1976 and 1987.

Read more

The highest paid utilities company CEOs

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dominion Resources CEO tops list of highest-paid chiefs in the utilities sector in 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- Thomas F. Farrell, II, the chief executive of Dominion Resources Inc., topped the list of the most highly paid chief executives in the utilities sector.

AP examined 2007 CEO pay data from the 410 companies in the S&P 500 that filed compensation disclosures with federal regulators in the first six months of this year. The following are the top earners at companies in the utilities sector.

1. Thomas F. Farrell, II, of Dominion Resources Inc.: $13.3 million

2. Mayo A. Shattuck, III, of Constellation Energy Group: $12.8 million

3. Anthony J. Alexander of FirstEnergy Corp.: $12.3 million

The AP's formula includes salary, perks, bonuses, above-market interest on pay set aside for later, and company estimates for the value of stock options and stock awards on the day they were granted.

IBEW Forms Utility Council UCC-2

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Local 29 along with eleven other Local Unions and System Council U-3 have become part of the newly created Utility Coordinating Council, UCC-2. International President Ed Hill authorized this new council as a method to coordinate information between the various IBEW Local Unions when dealing with FirstEnergy.

Greg Wolfe, Business Representative of Local 459 was elected as Chairman of the council and Mike Gabner, Business Manager of Local 777 was elected Secretary-Treasurer. The council represents approximately 4600 IBEW members that are FirstEnergy employees.

Earlier in 2003 the council delegates hand billed the FirstEnergy Stockholders meeting and then raised issues concerning worker's treatment to Company C.E.O. Pete Burg at that meeting.

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