FirstEnergy's credit rating has hit below investment grade or "junk" status by the three big rating agencies; Fitch, Moody's, and S&P. It's another blow to the company that has experienced a tumultuous year after being linked to a $61 million alleged racketeering scheme.
Moody's has downgraded FirstEnergy's credit rating to Ba1, while S&P and Fitch have put the company at a BB+ rating.
In July, federal investigators revealed a bribery scheme that alleged a utility, widely believed to be FirstEnergy, funneled millions of dollars to a dark money group in order to help Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) get elected as House Speaker.
In return, Householder with the help of that dark money group push for a sweeping energy bill, HB6, that accomplished several things on FirstEnergy's legislative agenda, including a nuclear power plant bailout.
Since then, a FirstEnergy lobbyist has pleaded guilty to the racketeering charge, CEO Chuck Jones was fired for undisclosed violations, and FirstEnergy wrote in an SEC filing that former executives paid $4 million to a company associated with someone who became a state regulator.
The company says it has created new accountability measures to address these issues and does not provide comment on rating agency actions.