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Met-Ed parent FirstEnergy subsidiaries selling 11 hydro facilities as noncore divestment

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Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. said Wednesday that subsidiaries have asked federal energy regulators for authorization to sell 11 hydroelectric power facilities to an independent power infrastructure investor.

The parties reached an agreement in August for Harbor Hydro Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of LS Power Equity Partners II LP, to acquire a total of 527 megawatts of hydro capacity in western Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, according to FirstEnergy.

FirstEnergy is the parent of power utility Metropolitan Edison Co. serving parts of the midstate.

The deal is part of FirstEnergy's strategy to divest noncore generation capacity, spokeswoman Stephanie Thornton said. Coal and nuclear facilities would be core generation, she said.

"And we are keeping more hydro in the portfolio than we are selling," Thornton said.

The price is not disclosed because the sale is not final, she said.

Subsidiaries FirstEnergy Generation LLC, Allegheny Energy Supply Co. LLC and Green Valley Hydro LLC own facilities that are part of the transaction, according to a company news release.

Meanwhile, the company said Allegheny Generating Co. will keep the 1,200 megawatts it owns in a 3,000-megawatt facility in Virginia and Jersey Central Power & Light will retain its 200 megawatts of a 400-megawatt site in New Jersey.

The transaction represents less than 3 percent of FirstEnergy generation fleet output, the company's release stated. The overall mix includes about 60 percent coal, 20 percent nuclear and 9 percent oil and gas. About 11 percent is hydro power and other renewable sources, the company said.

FirstEnergy expects the transaction to close in the fourth quarter this year and said it is subject to approvals, including from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

LS Power is an independent and employee-owned investor, developer, operator and owner of power generation and transmission infrastructure with offices in California, Missouri, New Jersey and New York, according to the release.

FirstEnergy Corp. has 10 electric-distribution companies with customers in six states. The firm's generation subsidiaries control capacity of more than 20,000 megawatts.

Shares of FirstEnergy are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FE.

Brent Burkey

Brent Burkey

Brent Burkey covers York County, agribusiness, energy and environment, and workforce issues. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at brentb@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @brentburkey.

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