Bangor Hydro Electric (BHE) is seeking FERC approval to acquire 4.87 miles of 345-kV transmission line and related facilities near the town of Orrington, Maine, from Central Maine Power (CMP).
According to the Oct. 5 application, under its Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP), CMP is in the process of building six new substations, upgrading more than 40 existing substations and installing or rebuilding nearly 440 miles of transmission line in 75 communities in lower and coastal Maine.
About 9.74 miles of these lines are the subject of the present transaction as well as a forthcoming transaction between CMP and BHE – specifically, BHE and CMP intend for CMP to build and transfer to BHE 4.87 miles of 115-kV line and related facilities in a transaction anticipated to occur in May 2014.
According to TransmissionHub data, the MPRP is a $1.4bn, 440-mile, 345-kV transmission line that begins in Eliot and ends in Orrington.
BHE noted that the approval is for a “wires only” transaction that will not have any adverse impact on competition, rates or regulation, nor will it result in cross-subsidization of a non-utility associate company or the pledge or encumbrance of utility assets for the benefit of an associate company.
BHE requested that FERC issue an order approving the transaction without condition, modification or a trial-type hearing by Dec. 4.
The acquired assets are under construction by CMP and are expected to be energized on or about Nov. 3, BHE added.
Saying the transaction is consistent with the public interest, BHE noted that it involves no electric generating assets or capacity, so it will have no adverse effect on competition in generation.
The transaction will also have no adverse effect on horizontal competition in transmission, BHE said, adding that it provides open access transmission service under the terms of the ISO New England tariff and, after consummation of the transaction, will provide open access service over the acquired assets as well under that tariff.
Furthermore, the acquired assets will not be directly connected to any generating assets and so the transaction should raise no vertical market power concerns.
Notwithstanding existing protections in place for transmission and wholesale customers, BHE and its public utility affiliates pledge generally to hold harmless all transmission and current wholesale customers from any costs associated with the transaction for five years to the extent that such costs exceed savings related to the transaction.
BHE said this is not a rate freeze and it and its public utility affiliates understand, for instance, that if they seek to recover transaction-related costs through their wholesale power or transmission rates, they must submit a compliance filing detailing how they are satisfying the hold harmless requirement.
BHE also said the transaction will have no adverse effect on federal regulation, noting that it and its public utility affiliates will remain subject to FERC’s jurisdiction. Furthermore, the transaction will have no adverse effect on state regulation as state regulators approved the transaction in an order issued in June 2010.
Among other things, BHE said consideration for the transaction will be the net book value of the acquired assets as determined by BHE and CMP shortly before closing, currently estimated to be about $8.3m.
BHE is an electric utility wholly owned by Emera. CMP is a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, which is a subsidiary of Iberdrola S.A.