Date: November 23, 2022
To: John Somerhalder, Interim CEO FirstEnergy Corp.
76 South Main St.
Akron, OH 44308-1890
Re: CEO Search / Clean Energy & Climate
Dear Mr. Somerhalder,
We read with interest your recent comments to Wall Street that FirstEnergy is searching for a new leader whose “key attributes” include “a strong track record of executive leadership within the utility industry, a demonstrated ability to execute on the regulatory front, leading operational and financial discipline and impeccable credibility with external stakeholders.” The undersigned write to express our concern over a glaring omission: a commitment to find a leader with a track record of leadership on the clean energy transition.
At Ohioans’ expense, FirstEnergy has opposed clean energy innovation and blocked progress on key climate initiatives for decades. As the primary proponents of House Bill 6 (HB 6), FirstEnergy threw energy efficiency, renewable energy and Ohioans’ health aside in the name of profits, while winning subsidies for both nuclear and coal plants. FirstEnergy’s scandalous conduct and policies transformed Ohio from a forward-looking state to one at risk of losing out on incredible economic opportunities for all who call our great state home.
The scandal surrounding HB 6 must be a turning point for the company. With the search for a new CEO, FirstEnergy has a new opportunity. We urge you to do right by your customers and focus your search on finding a leader with a clean energy vision who will break with the past, change your corporate culture, and work with state leaders and stakeholders on a just energy transition—built on the principles of transparency, equity and collaboration. We’re watching the selection process closely and are prepared to work with your new leadership if they share these values.
Managing Director of Energy Policy
Ohio Environmental Council
Ohio Citizen Action
Ohio State Coordinator
Moms Clean Air Force
Solar United Neighbors
Green Energy Ohio
Rev. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap
Evangelical Environmental Network