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A look at FirstEnergy's proposed sale of generating assets to LS Power

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A look at FirstEnergy's proposed sale of generating assets to LS Power

FirstEnergy Corp. in September agreed to final terms with LS Power Development LLC, an affiliate of LS Power Group, to sell 1,615 MW for $825 million. The capacity includes 902 MW of natural gas-fired capacity and 713 MW of hydro.

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On Jan. 19, FirstEnergy announced its subsidiary Allegheny Energy Supply Co. would sell its full ownership a number of operating natural gas facilities in Pennsylvania. The largest of the plants included was Allegheny Energy 3, 4 and 5 (Springdale), a 550-MW combined-cycle plant that began operating in 2003. Also included in the deal were Allegheny Energy Units 1 and 2 (Springdale), in Allegheny County, Pa., Allegheny Energy Units 12 & 13 (Chambersburg), in Franklin County, Pa., and Allegheny Energy Units 8 and 9 (Gans Plant), in Fayette County, Pa., each of which can produce 88 MW. The 45-MW AE Hunlock 4 plant in Luzerne County, Pa., was also included.

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In addition to the gas plants, the initial deal included Allegheny Energy Supply Co.'s 23.75% ownership stake, totaling 713 MW, in the Bath County pumped-storage hydro facility in Bath County, Va. Ownership of the remainder of the Bath County plant is split between Dominion Energy Inc. and FirstEnergy's regulated utility Monongahela Power Co. The initial value of the deal was $925 million for 1,572 MW, which was to be paid in all cash.

The arrangement was amended on Sept. 6 to add 50% ownership, or 43 MW, of Buchanan Generation LLC. The plant is located in Buchanan County, Va., and FirstEnergy co-owns it with CNX Gas Corp., a subsidiary of CONSOL Energy Inc. The value of the deal was also changed to $825 million for 1,615 MW capacity.

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On June 13, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the sale of plants indicated in the initial agreement. A joint application was filed to FERC on Sept. 29 seeking the approval for the revised deal. The parties requested for a decision from the regulatory body by Dec. 15. (FERC docket EC17-197)

The sale of Chambersburg, Gans, Hunlock and Springdale is expected to settle by fourth quarter of 2017, while the sale of the interests in Bath County and Buchanan is expected to finish by first quarter of 2018 following regulatory approvals and third-party consents. FirstEnergy plans to use the proceeds for investment in its unregulated money pool, repayment of debt and other corporate purposes.

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