FirstEnergy Corp

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Relationship Score
Akron, United States
Official Web Site:

Climate Lobbying Overview: FirstEnergy appears to have taken an actively oppositional stance towards climate-related policy in the United States. The company’s infrequent top-line messaging on climate change contradicts its active engagement against renewable energy policies, energy efficiency standards, and emissions standards. FirstEnergy often emphasizes cost-effectiveness in policy engagements and has supported a range of actions highly obstructive to climate policy progress.

Top-Line Messaging on Climate Policy: FirstEnergy’s position on the broad need for climate action is unclear. While the company appears concerned with its own emissions reductions, it remains unclear if they support IPCC demanded global action. In its 2019 Climate Report, the utility comments on the need for climate regulations in general with unclear qualifications for its support. In 2020, FirstEnergy submitted comments to the New Jersey Board of Public utilities in support of market-based solutions on climate. More recently, the company stated support for the intent of the Paris Agreement in its August 2021 corporate engagement report.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: FirstEnergy appears to have pursued an active strategy to block climate-related regulation in the United States. The company is recognized for its role in supporting Ohio’s House Bill 6 (HB 6), which included a sixty million dollar bribery scheme through the no-longer existing subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions. The 2019 bill dismantled Ohio's Renewable Portfolio Standards and undermined the state’s energy efficiency standards. While FirstEnergy’s argument centered on protecting its nuclear facilities, the company also pushed for implementation of the bill's energy efficiency reforms to the Ohio Public Utilities Commission in late 2019.

FirstEnergy has actively opposed net metering in New Jersey, as evident in comments to the state’s Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) in 2017 and 2020 advocating for the program’s discontinuation. FirstEnergy has also opposed Renewable Portfolio Standards, stating that they are no longer relevant to the NJBPU in 2017. Additionally, the company appears wary of energy efficiency policies, as evident in vague support for efficiency policies in the company's 2020 CDP response, and its conditional support for New Jersey’s “extremely ambitious” efficiency targets.

FirstEnergy has lobbied significantly against GHG emissions standards at the federal level. A 2018 consultation condemns the CAA GHG emissions standards and simultaneously supports the repeal of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) on related grounds. Later that year, FirstEnergy actively supported the Advanced Clean Energy rule, arguing that the CPP emissions standards overstepped the scope of the EPA’s authority. In Ohio, the utility issued a 2018 comment to the Public Utilities Commission arguing against the expansion of emissions reductions regulations.

Positioning on Energy Transition: FirstEnergy appears to have predominantly negative engagement with the transition of the energy mix. The company’s notable support for HB6, which bailed out nuclear and coal plants while upending Ohio clean energy policies, suggests a negative position on the energy transition. In 2016, FirstEnergy directly advocated to the EPA to weaken the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), a compliance program related to the CPP. In 2018, a FirstEnergy petition to the US Department of Energy urged for federal protection of a “diverse array of energy resources,” including coal and nuclear. Conversely, FirstEnergy has supported the growth of transportation electrification, smart grids, and wind and solar power in New Jersey throughout 2019 and 2020. These efforts simultaneously urge that utilities play a more significant role in these efforts.

Industry Association Governance: FirstEnergy offers partial transparency around its industry associations' climate positions and has disclosed its alignment with industry groups on broad climate policies in its August 2021 Corporate Engagement report. FirstEnergy is a member of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Edison Electric Institute, and the US Chamber of Commerce, with the latter particularly engaged in frequent obstruction of climate policy.

A detailed assessment of the company's industry association review can be found on our CA100+ webpage here.

Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.