Q: How will the Bill passed by the State impact the customers?
A: It will reduce their bills and the average residential customer’s bill will be reduced by $2.50. They will pay a little more because of the nuclear plants but because of the clean air attributes of the nuclear plants the bill also reduced the mandate in Ohio to continuing to add wind and solar. Those are higher costs. It treated nuclear plants as a clean air source. When nuclear plants are treated as a clean air source, you do not need as much of the other sources. I am not opposed to wind or solar at all. We are in discussion presently about getting into wind and solar more directly. It is still not on par for a customer’s cost effectiveness in relation to the traditional ways of getting electricity to our customers. It will get on par when large companies like Solar City, which give federal tax credits, which customers can take advantage. You have to have someone who has a big tax bill, which can take advantage of the tax credits in order to make it economic.
A wealthier customer who signs the lease gets the reduction in their tax bill along with the reduction in the cost of electricity. Everybody else pays more taxes and everyone else pays more for electricity. That is a big piece. We have to figure out the entire equation. I believe that the wealth in this country is becoming more and more separated than ever before. We have more and more wealthy people and even more poor people. What I just described helps to drive this entity out of control. On a statewide basis, we must try to resolve how to come to some solutions in these areas.
I am a believer that the minimum wage needs to be raised. I am not a believer that it should be raised city by city because it will allow some businesses to move out of an existing city to a place where the minimum wage hike is not recognized. I believe it should be done nationally or at least on a statewide basis. If the City of Cleveland does it, a business will surely take its business and employees to a city where there is no raise in the employee’s salaries. If done on a global basis that $15 is going to be integrated into the cost of services and I am going to help pay for it. Please note that I am ok with that.
At $15 an hour, I have a son who makes about that much. He brings home about $920 a month. He is single and it is difficult for him to live off $920 a month. Can you think of a family trying to live off that amount of money? I have become a part of a group entitled CEOs for Action, Diversity and Inclusion. There are not 900 CEOs across the country who are a part of this organization and who participate in its vision. If the CEOs involve themselves in the organization and start hiring those who are deprived and rejected, we can and will make a difference. When we become more socially responsible as executives and make the companies we serve become more responsible, we can then move the needle for the country. Nine-hundred CEOs does not sound like a lot, but these are the CEOs of the largest companies in these United States. We have all made a pledge and we are all working together to make a difference. We are looking for ways to solve what is going on in Washington D.C. and come to some solutions and conclusions.
President Bill Clinton stated seven years ago that there was divisiveness that was developing in our country. He said that the divisiveness was developing over 18 issues, which I cannot name now. Right to Life, minimum wage, gun control, etc. were the issues that were dividing our country. He mentioned that there was a 7% gap. He said that when he won the second time he talked to Newt Gingrich and said, “We have to try to figure out how to work together and pull this country back together.” Clinton said that we made progress those last four years. The statistics were updated and the gap was now 30%. Clinton said that he was not blaming the republicans but that he was blaming democrats and republicans equally. He stated, “We are creating a country where we are becoming political zealots and we won’t talk where you can find common ground.” This was President Bill Clinton seven years ago. I voted for him twice. I voted for him because I thought he would be the best for our country. Nobody seems to be listening to him.
Q: What can the Call and Post do to tell the story better than what we are presently doing?
A: I have a few “Chuckisms.” One thing that I try to do is not brag. I don’t want myself or First Energy to do anything just for the accolades. What I want is to figure out how to reach out into the community to tell them what we have to offer and what opportunities that are available to them if they will just come forward, believe in themselves take a chance and be successful. We want to know how we can help. We want them to know how to reach out, who to call and who they can have confidence in so that their life can be better.
Doug Colafella: Mr. Jones could have rattled off a lot of names and numbers, which he could have easily listed. We want people to know of our programs. If a person is having difficulty paying a bill, we want to help. If there are unemployed individuals who need a chance and desire to work, we want to let them know that First Energy is here to help. They should be aware of the people in the community who are partners with us to get the message out and who are willing to be of assistance to them. Next week is “Scam Awareness Month” Our customers need to be aware that there are people calling customers to tell them if they do not pay their bills, that they will be shut down the next day. People panic and find themselves giving money to someone who has just scammed them into getting money and First Energy is not aware. We have ways to aid our customers to avoid their being shut-off.
Mr. Jones: Also, I would love for you to do an interview about Deante James. Interview him and his family to find out what he thinks of our company and the opportunity it afforded him. They are thanking me but I am telling them” thank you.” His sister is in school about to get her Master’s and then working toward her doctorate. We are trying to figure out how to get her as well to be on board with First Energy. Rashawn, is another young man who left Nestle to come to First Energy and work for First Energy. He is now one of our meter readers. He is so excited and exhilarated. Talk about them because they will relay the message about what First Energy is doing and how we can be a help to so many others. I want to put more people to work and I want a company, which is more diverse. The story I tell about my wife and Chuck Wilson is part of the plan on which we know is just the right thing to do. I also tell them that there is an engineer inside of me. The engineer looks at data. The data shows that the companies that really embrace diversity and inclusion the best are rated as the best performing companies. The immediate thought that comes to mind is how to get the Call and Post to get the word to the community as to what is available to them, the programs, which can help them, and the success stories that we have been able to share in hiring people. We want to get the momentum going not just for First Energy but also for those who need it most. That is the message that First Energy wants the community to know. We are here for them!