Diversified energy company FirstEnergy Corp forecast a profit range for 2010, the top end of which could handily beat market estimates, as it gets a boost from its cost-cutting measures.

We achieved significant cost reductions, successfully transitioned to competitive markets in Ohio, and accomplished additional regulatory certainty, Chief Executive Anthony Alexander said in a statement.

The company backed its 2009 adjusted earnings forecast of $3.70 to $3.80 per share.

The company said it sees its move to fully competitive generation markets in Pennsylvania, a new Ohio load auction, and the effects of an improving economy to help 2011 earnings.

For 2010, FirstEnergy expects to earn $3.50 to $3.70 per share, excluding items. Analysts were looking for $3.53, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy owns and operates nearly 14,000 MW of generating capacity, markets energy commodities, and transmits and distributes electricity to about 4.5 million customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

One MW powers about 800 homes in Ohio.

Shares of the company closed at $43.90 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. (Reporting by Krishna N. Das in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan)