FirstEnergy CEO Says New Emerging Technologies Group Will Pitch New Services To Policymakers
During an earnings call, FirstEnergy Corp. CEO Chuck Jones said that the newly formed "Emerging Technologies Group" at the company is, "one of the most exciting things about where we're at as a company, that we actually now have the time and the resources to start thinking about what do we want FirstEnergy to be in the future."
Jones said that FE is looking state by state, utility by utility, to determine what new emerging technologies make sense for the company to invest in on behalf of its customers, and what are the regulatory and legislative impediments to being able to do that
Jones said the Emerging Technologies Group would identify opportunities for future investments that would allow the company to better serve its customers by analyzing and implementing advanced technologies and working with state and federal policies designed to improve grid performance and energy security.
Jones provided an example -- not necessarily where the company would end up, but for illustrative purposes -- of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
"We’ve had two of our governors, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, express their desire to have significantly more electric vehicle penetration in their state. One of the impediments to accomplishing those goals is going to be a robust charging network. Utilities, like ours, and not just ours, are skilled at building infrastructure. They're skilled at planning infrastructure. They're skilled at ... building it out in a way that it’s robust, but not duplicative, doing it for a 9.5% to 10% return on equity, which is a very cheap way to finance it. And I think it’s something that if we really want more EV penetration, our states ought to look at having their utilities help them accomplish [that]. Right now, none of our states want us to do that, but that’s an area where I think we’re going to have ongoing conversation with them about the value that we think we can bring to help them with their environmental strategies for their states," Jones said