Companies | Article published October 22, 2002|
FirstEnergy pledges to pay down debts
Getting the Davis-Besse nuclear power station
back up and running remains FirstEnergy Corp.’s primary focus
although the company is working on paying down its debt, officials
of the Akron-based utility told a group of industry executives and
Wall Street analysts yesterday.
The company will pay off
nearly $550 million in debt this year, and if it successfully sells
four Ohio coal-fired plants - including Bay Shore in Oregon - it
will use the proceeds to further pay off debts, Richard Marsh, chief
financial officer, said during a session of the Edison Electric
Institute’s Financial Conference in Palm Desert,
FirstEnergy said last week at the release of its third
quarter earnings that it is restarting efforts to sell Bay Shore and
three other lakefront plants near Cleveland after a deal to sell
them to NRG Energy, Inc., of Minneapolis, fell through this summer.
NRG ran into financial trouble and could not complete the
Mr. Marsh stressed that the company will not accept
just any offer that is submitted.
‘‘It is not a fire sale,’’
Peter Burg, FirstEnergy’s chairman and chief
executive officer, reiterated the company’s goal of restarting
Davis-Besse in early 2003.
‘‘Our number one item is the
restart," he said. "We are confident we have the team in place to
get that job done and we will do the right thing with respect to
Davis-Besse’’ to regain the trust of customers and
He said the company has focused on new management
not only at Davis-Besse but also at its two other nuclear plants,
Perry and Beaver Valley.
‘‘We have a new site vice president
at each of three operating units. At Davis-Besse, the top 25
managers are different than the ones in place a year ago. And we
have backfilled at other two facilities,’’ Mr. Burg said.
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