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FirstEnergy to sell 11 hydroelectric plants, including Fayette, Armstrong county sites

| Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

FirstEnergy Corp. has agreed to sell 11 hydroelectric plants to a subsidiary of New York-based LS Power for an undisclosed price as it continues to reduce its power generation capacity in favor of growing its distribution business

The plants are small and can generate about 500 megawatts, less than 3 percent of the company's system. They employ about 35 workers total and include plants in Fayette County and Armstrong counties. FirstEnergy said the deal isn't expected to result in layoffs.

The buyer is Harbor Hydro Holdings LLC. Officials at Harbor Hydro's parent, LS Power, did not return requests for comment.

With low electricity prices hurting its business, Akron-based FirstEnergy, Pennsylvania's largest electric utility, disclosed in February that it would try to sell off hydroelectric generation plants that produce a total of 1,180 megawatts, spokeswoman Jennifer Young said.

FirstEnergy said the deal, which requires approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and several other state regulatory agencies, should close by year's end.

The biggest unit in the sale is the 451-megawatt Seneca Pumped Storage plant in Warren. The second biggest is at Lake Lynn, Fayette County, producing 52 megawatts. The Armstrong County plants are in Schenley and Ford City. Other units are in West Virginia and Virginia.

Timothy Puko is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991 or tpuko@tribweb.com.

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