The damage found at FirstEnergy's Davis-Besse nuclear power plant
has dominated news stories about the Akron utility since March.
But when FirstEnergy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer H.
Peter Burg addresses shareholders today it appears he'll largely
have a good-news story to tell.
At last year's annual shareholders meeting, FirstEnergy's stock
price closed at $29.65. Yesterday's closing price was $33.07. Since
last year's meeting, the stock with dividends reinvested has
returned 16.02 percent. By comparison, the Standard & Poor's 500
Index and the S&P Electric Utilities Index have since dropped
At this morning's annual meeting in the John S. Knight Center,
Burg can point to FirstEnergy's higher stock price, the completion
of its acquisition of New Jersey-based GPU Inc., which doubled the
company's customer base to 4.3 million people, and its ongoing
efforts to shed billions of dollars of debt.
While the stock price is up compared to a year ago, it's 14.4
percent off the high this year of $38.65 set on March 11, the day
the company announced it found that boric acid ate two cavities into
the Davis-Besse reactor vessel head.
The plant, in Oak Harbor about 25 miles east of Toledo, has been
shut down since mid-February and probably will remain shut down
through at least the end of September.
The plant and the company are being investigated by the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission and Congress, and FirstEnergy has estimated it
may spend $120 million or more to repair or replace the damaged
part, plus buy electricity to make up for not being able to use
The company has asked shareholders to elect five directors and
amend an executive compensation plan.
Two shareholder-initiated proposals that would eliminate
staggered terms for directors and adopt simple majority votes are
also on the proxy statement. Both proposals have failed to pass in