FirstEnergy sells off Pennsylvania gas plants




FirstEnergy Corp. is selling several Pennsylvania natural gas plants and its hydroelectric assets for $925 million, the Ohio-based company said today.

The buyer is LS Power Equity Partners III LP, a New York-based power developer which, according to Bloomberg, "specializes in buyout investments in energy and power sector with a focus on operating power plants infrastructure."

The same firm bought 11 hydroelectric power stations from FirstEnergy for $395 million in 2014. So far, its only Pennsylvania asset is a hydroelectric station in Warren acquired during that 2014 deal.

The current agreement includes four natural gas plants: the 683-megawatt Springdale Generating Facility in Allegheny County, the Gans Generating Facility in Greene County (88 MW); Chambersburg Generating Facility in Franklin County (88 MW); and Hunlock Green gas power plant in Luzerne County (45 MW).

It also includes the 713-megawatt Bath County Hydro pumped storage facility in Virginia.

Twenty-three employees work across the power plants and all will be offered jobs with the new owner, FirstEnergy said in a statement.

The sale has been in the works for months and is part of FirstEnergy's plan to get out of the unregulated competitive power generation business. Company leaders have said they are steering the company to rely on utility and transmission segments for revenue.

As part of that shift, the fate of Beaver County plants Bruce Mansfield coal-powered facility and the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant is unclear. FirstEnergy is trying to sell the plants or, in the case of Beaver Valley, hoping that Pennsylvania will follow New York’s example and approve subsidies to prop it up.

Anya Litvak: alitvak@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455.

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