|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
Note 13 — Asset Retirement Obligations
The Company's AROs are primarily related to the future dismantlement of equipment on leased property and environmental obligations related to nuclear decommissioning, ash disposal, site closures, and fuel storage facilities. In addition, the Company has also identified conditional AROs for asbestos removal and disposal, which are specific to certain power generation operations.
See Note 6, Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund, for a further discussion of the Company's nuclear decommissioning obligations. Accretion for the nuclear decommissioning ARO and amortization of the related ARO asset are recorded to the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Liability to the ratepayers and are not included in net income, consistent with regulatory treatment.
The following table represents the balance of ARO obligations as of December 31, 2017 and 2016, along with the additions, reductions and accretion related to the Company's ARO obligations for the year ended December 31, 2017:
Note 14 — Benefit Plans and Other Postretirement Benefits
NRG sponsors and operates defined benefit pension and other postretirement plans.
NRG pension benefits are available to eligible non-union and union employees through various defined benefit pension plans. These benefits are based on pay, service history and age at retirement. Most pension benefits are provided through tax-qualified plans. NRG also provides postretirement health and welfare benefits for certain groups of employees. Cost sharing provisions vary by the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreements.
NRG maintains two separate qualified pension plans, the NRG Pension Plan for Bargained Employees and the NRG Pension Plan. Employees of both NRG and GenOn participate in each of the pension plans, depending upon whether their employment is covered by a bargaining agreement. As controlled group members, ERISA requires that NRG and GenOn are jointly and severally liable for the NRG Pension Plan for Bargained Employees and the NRG Pension Plan, including pension liabilities associated with GenOn employees.
As described in Note 1, Nature of Business, and Note 3, Discontinued Operations, Acquisitions and Dispositions, NRG and GenOn entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement and various support agreements, including a transition services agreement, that provides for a restructuring and recapitalization of the GenOn Entities through a prearranged plan of reorganization and was approved by the Bankruptcy Court pursuant to an order of confirmation on December 12, 2017. In accordance with the agreements, NRG will retain GenOn's pension liability for service provided by GenOn employees prior to the completion of the reorganization. NRG determined that the retention of this liability is probable and has recorded the estimated accumulated pension benefit obligation as of December 31, 2017 of $92 million in other non-current liabilities with a corresponding loss from discontinued operations. The balance reflects a contribution of $13 million to the plans with respect to GenOn's employees paid in September 2017. NRG will also retain the liability for GenOn's post-employment and retiree health and welfare benefits, in an amount up to $25 million. Retention of this liability is probable and accordingly, NRG has recorded the $25 million in other non-current liabilities with a corresponding loss from discontinued operations as of December 31, 2017. NRG's obligation for both of these liabilities will be revalued through and at GenOn's emergence from bankruptcy, with NRG's obligation for the post-employment and retiree health and welfare plan capped at $25 million.
NRG expects to contribute $31 million to the Company's pension plans in 2018. Of this amount, $13 million related to employees of GenOn.