FirstEnergy Corp. and GPU Inc. took a giant step forward intheir merger plans last week, submitting applications for approvalto the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the New Jersey Boardof Public Utilities and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.Still to come will be approval by each company’s shareholders inspecial meetings set for Nov. 21.

FirstEnergy, headquartered in Akron, OH, and Morristown, NJ-basedGPU first announced their $12 billion merger plans in August (seeDaily GPI, Aug. 8). The marriage wouldcreate the sixth largest investor-owned electric system in the countrywith the largest customer base — 4.3 million customers — in thePennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland power pool.

FirstEnergy was formed in 1997 following the merger of OhioEdison Co. and Centerior Energy Corp. Its four electric utilitycompanies — Ohio Edison and its Pennsylvania Power subsidiary,The Illuminating Co. and Toledo Edison — serve 2.2 millioncustomers in a 13,200-square-mile service area in northern andcentral Ohio and western Pennsylvania. GPU serves 2.1 millioncustomers directly through its electric companies — MetropolitanEdison, Pennsylvania Electric and Jersey Central Power & Light.GPU also serves 2.7 million in the United Kingdom, Argentina andAustralia.

Also last week, FirstEnergy Services Corp., a unit ofFirstEnergy, signed an energy and facilities agreement with ForestCity Enterprises Inc.’s Forest City Commercial Group Inc. unit foran undisclosed amount. FirstEnergy will provide lighting, chillerreplacements, facility automation and energy conservation measuresfor Forest City’s 17 commercial facilities in Massachusetts, NewYork, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. It also willhelp Forest City with its electricity and natural gas procurement.

©Copyright 2000 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. Thepreceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, inwhole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent ofIntelligence Press, Inc.