FirstEnergy, the Akron-based investor-owned utility that serves much of northern Ohio and several other states, announced today that they are phasing out their fossil fuel portfolio and switching entirely to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
In a wide ranging and candid speech, a new FirstEnergy executive said “For years our company has put profits ahead of doing the right thing. I mean, think about it, our business model ignored what our customers really wanted, gave kids asthma, and contributed to global warming.”
Over the last several years FirstEnergy has led efforts at the Ohio Statehouse to roll back successful clean energy standards that were driving investment, lowering energy bills, and limiting air pollution in Ohio. In an about-face, the company now admits that those efforts were both misguided and short sighted.
“Whoops… Yeah, that was our bad. We really screwed up on that one.” said the new FirstEnergy executive.
As a result of an intensive, multi-year lobbying effort, the Ohio Legislature dismantled its clean energy law last June and created a “Study Committee” to assess the feasibility of clean energy and energy efficiency benchmarks moving forward.
In response to this stark reversal by FirstEnergy, a spokesperson for the Ohio General Assembly said “I wasn’t aware that they had changed positions, I don’t really keep in close contact with FirstEnergy about their policies,” before abruptly ending the conversation to go to a fundraiser sponsored by an undisclosed large utility.
In a statement, Jack Shaner, Deputy Director at the Ohio Environmental Council, said “It’s unfortunate that this is just an April Fools joke and not FirstEnergy’s actual plan moving forward. Ohio can’t afford to play around anymore, and our decision makers need to take REAL action to combat climate change and secure cleaner air for all Ohioans.”