| Article published Thursday, May 1, 2003|
FirstEnergy hedges on Davis-Besse restart
to cost at least $45 million
AKRON - FirstEnergy Corp. officials hedged
yesterday on the already delayed timeline for Davis-Besse’s restart,
saying the nuclear power plant could be operating by the end of June
or even July - up to six weeks later than last publicly
Officials for the Akron utility told analysts and
investors during a first-quarter earnings conference call yesterday
that getting the restart right - not its exact timing - is most
Meanwhile, power to replace the lost output will
cost $45 million from April through June and, if needed, $25 million
each in July and August, and more has been secured beyond summer,
analysts and investors were told.
"From a plant perspective,
we’re continuing to make excellent progress," said Gary Leidich,
FirstEnergy’s top nuclear unit executive, referring to the idled
Davis-Besse near Oak Harbor.
The nuclear power plant has been
shut down since February, 2002, at first for refueling and then
because workers discovered that leaking boric acid had eaten a hole
in the reactor’s head.
In the latest quarter, the shutdown
cost FirstEnergy $88 million, or 18 cents a share.
FirstEnergy had a first-quarter profit of $241 million, or 82 cents
a share, a 107 percent increase from $116.5 million, or 40 cents a
share, a year ago. Thirty-five cents a share of the most recent
profits resulted from adopting a new accounting standard regarding
FirstEnergy’s first-quarter sales were $3.2
billion, up 10 percent increase from $2.9 billion a year
During yesterday’s conference call, analysts and
investors were told the company no longer is seeking a buyer for
four coal-fired Ohio power plants, including the Bay Shore plant in
Their production is being adjusted according
to customer demand, one official said.