GenOn Turns Off the Lights

Environmental regulations are prompting GenOn Energy Inc. (NYSE:GEN) to cut its generating capacity by 13 percent by May 2015. The third-largest U.S. independent power producer by market value said in a statement Wednesday that shutdowns will begin in June at plants that aren’t profitable enough to cover the costs of complying with environmental rules, Bloomberg reports.

The eight plants, located in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey, generate 3,140 megawatts in the wholesale market overseen by PJM Interconnection. All the units but one burn coal, according to the Houston-based GenOn’s website.

After these and other planned closures and the completion of a gas-feuled facility in California, GenOn will have 19,490 megawatts of generating capacity. The company’s total capacity is currently 23,692 megawatts, according to the GenOn website.

Environmental rules have caused other power companies, including FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE) and American Electric Power Co., to announce closures. Last year a federal court stopped a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air-pollution regulation aimed at reducing power-plant emissions that cross state lines. Rules to cut mercury pollution will go into effect in 2015.

Here’s how these stocks closed the day:

GenOn Energy, Inc. (NYSE:GEN): GEN shares recently traded at $2.46, up $0.16, or 6.96%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $2.04 to $4.25. Volume today was 17,637,175 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 9,739,550 shares. The company’s trailing earnings are $-1.02 per share.

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE): FE shares recently traded at $44.29, up $0.48, or 1.1%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $36.11 to $46.51. Volume today was 4,216,823 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,318,790 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 17.77, while trailing earnings are $2.49 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gina Smith at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com