Sen. Reid urges FERC to consider MidAmerican acquisition of NV Energy

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is urging FERC to “give close consideration to the joint application” filed by MidAmerican Energy Holdings and NV Energy, which have proposed to merge (FERC Docket No. EC13-128).

In a July 23 letter to FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and the four FERC commissioners, Reid gave his support to the July 12 application that would ultimately make NV Energy (NYSE:NVE) an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings.

“This matter will impact Nevada’s clean energy future and is important to investments in the infrastructure necessary to integrate greater amounts of clean energy into our grid,” he said.

Reid continued: “MidAmerican has extensive experience building clean, efficient generation and transmission and they have committed to deploying this experience to the benefit of Nevadans. MidAmerican has experience that will create new opportunities to bolster the financial stability of the state’s largest electrical utility, resources that provide new access to capital for clean energy projects, and the expertise that comes from MidAmerican’s operations in organized and non-organized markets in the West and Midwest.”

FERC officials said the agency frequently receives similar correspondence.

“It is not a daily occurrence, but not unusual,” a FERC spokesperson told TransmissionHub July 31. “Often it is to support new projects that will create jobs or increase the tax base in state or some transaction that will further of state policy goals.” Reid’s entreaty might roughly fall into the latter category, the spokesperson noted.

The application proposes rolling three existing companies — Nevada Power, Sierra Pacific Power, and NV Energy, Inc.  – into a fourth company, Silver Merger Sub, which is owned by parent company MidAmerican. The surviving corporation would be NV Energy, which would then become a wholly owned subsidiary of MidAmerican.

Reid’s comments reiterated four benefits listed by the companies in their joint application.

Those benefits included increased financial stability and reduced cost of debt, greater access to capital for a number of reliability initiatives including the potential new investments in generation and transmission, and access to MidAmerican’s expertise from operations in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections, and in organized and non-organized markets. Finally, NV Energy’s customers will benefit from the shared best practices including safety, customer satisfaction, system reliability, and cost containment, the companies said.

The applicants have requested that FERC issue an order authorizing the transaction on or before Dec. 19 in order to allow the transaction to close in January 2014.