FirstEnergy Corp

InfluenceMap Score
D
Performance Band
46%
Organisation Score
39%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Utilities
Head​quarters:
Akron, United States
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: FirstEnergy demonstrates mostly negative engagement on federal and state climate policies in the United States, including in New Jersey and Ohio. The company’s infrequent top-line messaging contradicts its opposition to specific regulations and state-level climate legislation, although the company appears to be less active since its involvement in the 2019 Ohio House Bill 6 corruption scheme. FirstEnergy is a member of the Edison Electric Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, both of which have taken negative positions on certain climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act.

Top-Line Messaging on Climate Policy: FirstEnergy’s position on the need for climate action is unclear. While the company appears concerned with its own emissions reductions, its high-level communications on climate do not indicate a clear position on IPCC demanded global action. In its 2019 Climate Report, the utility commented on the need for climate regulations in general, but 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. The company discloses engagement on the Build Back Better Act in its Q3 and Q4 2021 federal lobbying reports without stating a position on the bill or its climate provisions. FirstEnergy stated support for the intent of the Paris Agreement in its August 2021 corporate engagement report.

Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: FirstEnergy demonstrates negative positions on federal and state climate policies, with limited evidence of engagement after 2019. The company supported 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 renewable energy legislation in New Jersey and Maryland. Subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has opposed net metering in New Jersey, as evident in comments to the state’s Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) 2020 advocating for the program’s discontinuation. In February 2021, Subsidiary Potomac Edison opposed Maryland Senate Bill 508 and House Bill 743, which centered on increasing the maximum generation capacity of net metering projects.

FirstEnergy has strongly advocated against GHG emissions standards at the federal level. An April 2018 consultation condemns the Clean Air Act 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. FirstEnergy reported lobbying activities on GHG emissions legislation in Maryland, including House Bill 583 on setting a 2030 GHG emissions reduction target, without stating a position.

Positioning on Energy Transition: FirstEnergy appears to have predominantly negative engagement with the transition of the energy mix. The company’s notable support for Ohio HB6, which bailed out nuclear and coal plants while upending state clean energy policies, suggests a negative position on the energy transition. In March 2018, a FirstEnergy petition to the US Department of Energy advocated for federal protection of a “diverse array of energy resources,” including coal and nuclear.

FirstEnergy demonstrates a more positive position on transport electrification, particularly in New Jersey and Ohio. Subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light appears to have supported the state Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicle Straw Proposal: in its October 2021 comments to the NJ Board of Public Utilities, it states support for fleet electrification and advocates for a central role for utilities in implementation. In April 2020, FirstEnergy’s subsidiaries in Ohio similarly advocated to the state Public Utilities Commission to allow utilities a greater role in electric vehicle infrastructure development. The company also appears to support electrification at the federal level, disclosing in its 2021 federal lobbying reports that it is lobbying to promote electrification.

Industry Association Governance: FirstEnergy offers some 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 Edison Electric Institute, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which have been engaging with mixed and negative positions on climate policy, respectively.

A detailed assessment of the company's corporate review on climate policy engagement can be found on InfluenceMap's CA100+ Investor Hub here.

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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
28%
 
28%
 
57%
 
57%

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.