FirstEnergy Corp., the parent company of MetEd, which services parts of Berks and Northampton counties, has been recognized for its work in promoting economic development.
Site Selection magazine has named FirstEnergy as one of the top utilities in the country for economic development for helping to attract more than $2.7 billion in third-party capital investment within its market area.
Among the projects the utility is being recognized for is its help with the Dollar General distribution center in Bethel Township, Berks County, which resulted in a $100 million investment from the company and will create about 500 jobs, and the PetSmart distribution center, which resulted in a $50 million investment from that company and the creation of about 500 jobs. Both projects are in the Berks Park 78 development.
The award recognizes utility companies that complement reliable power delivery to their customers with a hands-on approach to encouraging business development in their operational areas. Recipient utilities are chosen for what the utility does to help create jobs and facilitate investment in its area, website tools and data that can be used to help business development, and survey input from corporate end users and site consultants.
FirstEnergy economic development projects and partnerships that are expected to help create new jobs and generate capital investments include FirstProspector, an interactive Internet mapping program that allows users to search for available land sites and commercial buildings in FirstEnergy's service area.
Another is the Export Now Program, an ongoing partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service that helps provide export trade opportunities for FirstEnergy's small- and medium-sized manufacturing customers.