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by Kelso King, Grid Monitor
Source – Grid Monitor
Posted 05/10/2019

Open Meeting Discussion

Although Oncor had approved of the language, PUCT Chairman DeAnn Walker found some Ordering Paragraphs very confusing, requiring each one of the rights to be listed in each of the CCNs. The Chairman instead recommended requiring all the parties to file a compliance docket for a single CCN.

Matthew Henry, representing Oncor, noted there were historical reasons there are multiple CCN numbers but would be amenable to a process simplifying it, including identifying which rights attach to which CCNs. However, Oncor did not want approval being contingent on a compliance proceeding, adding that they would like to get the deal closed as quickly as possible.

Lino Mendiola, representing Sharyland, agreed that they also want to get to closing as soon as possible and Sharyland did not have a problem with a compliance filing putting all the CCNs into one number.

Chairman Walker replied that it was not her intention to make the consolidation conditional and the parties could come back later to get that accomplished.

Commission Advising Staff noted that the draft order was set up to file an LP and LLC. Those agreements have now been filed and Staff has filed their comments based on the draft order. Staff suggested the need to get confirmation on the record that the LP and LLC agreement are still in conformance.

Sharyland did not believe they needed any further changes in the LLC and LP agreements, believing their clarifications had been endorsed in the Chairman’s memo.

Oncor and Sharyland informed the Commission it would not take much time to make the requested revisions.

Later in the meeting, Staff informed the commissioners that the parties had agreed on a final order incorporating all changes that had been discussed earlier.

The Commission adopted the draft order that was filed, as modified by the memos that were filed and consistent with the Commission’s discussion.

Background

Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC, Sharyland Distribution & Transmission Services, L.L.C., Sharyland Utilities, L.P., and Sempra Energy (Joint Applicants) requested Commission approval of a transaction composed of a series of three separate transactions:

1)      Sharyland Utilities and Sharyland Distribution & Transmission Services Asset Swap;

2)      Oncor acquisition of InfraREIT, Inc. and InfraREIT Partners; and

3)      Sempra Energy investment in Sharyland Utilities.

The transactions result in Oncor owning a significant portion of Sharyland Distribution & Transmission Services assets in a wholly-owned subsidiary (the North Texas Utility) and Sharyland Utilities owning transmission assets solely in the South Texas region (the South Texas Utility).

The joint applicants sought a Commission determination that the transactions are in the public interest and requested that the certificates of convenience and necessity of Sharyland Utilities and Sharyland Distribution & Transmission Services be transferred such that the North Texas Utility and South Texas Utility are authorized to own and operate each respective utility’s assets after the transactions close.

At the January 17, 2019 Open Meeting, Chairman Walker proposed additional issues be added to the preliminary order to clarify who would ultimately own what. Sharyland and Oncor assured the Commission that no rates would be set in this proceeding and parties would be able to address all issues in a future case.

At the February 28, 2019 Open Meeting, the PUCT approved numerous revisions to its draft Preliminary Order, removing many rate-related issues from being addressed in this case. Chairman Walker expressed concerns about precedent and implored parties to find a “smart, innovative way” to address the issue of whether or not the Sale Transfer Merger is in the public interest, without getting to the underlying rates.

At the April 18, 2019 Open Meeting, having dispensed with most of the issues in the case, the PUCT addressed a remaining issue. Although not being convinced regarding an argument that O&M could be provided without a tariff, Chairman Walker believed the transaction could still be allowed without a tariff. To avoid setting a precedent, she recommended a finding that a tariff was not necessary under these circumstances.