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Challenge to Blackstone’s Effort to Control FirstEnergy

By Tyson Slocum

Today in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) dockets EC22-27 and EC22-33, Public Citizen filed a protest against efforts by Blackstone to control the utility FirstEnergy. The Finance Committee of FirstEnergy’s Board of Directors, which includes an Icahn Enterprises executive as a voting member, helped negotiate simultaneous private investment deals with Blackstone Inc. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. Both Blackstone and Brookfield secured voting rights on the boards of FirstEnergy companies as a condition of their privately-negotiated investments. Public Citizen has two asks of FERC:

  • The dockets must be consolidated in order to accurately reflect that the two transactions were negotiated jointly as part of a coordinated financial plan assembled by the Board of Directors. Consolidation is necessary to properly assess whether the combined transactions are consistent with the public interest, or present threats to competition or captive customers, as both Brookfield and Blackstone own a vast array of FERC-jurisdictional assets.
  • The request to convey voting rights for Blackstone’s seat on the Board cannot be granted until the Commission has determined whether a formal or informal collusive agreement exists between Blackstone and Icahn Enterprises. Should any such conspiracy exist, the Commission must classify both Blackstone and Icahn Enterprises as affiliates of FirstEnergy, per 18 CFR § 35.36(a)(9)(iii).

Read the full, 4 page filing here: FirstEnergyBlackstone