PUCT: Commissioners will hear ITC, Entergy arguments; proceeding to close by year-end

The Public Utilities Commission of Texas’ (PUCT) three commissioners, not the State Office of Administrative Hearings, will preside over the hearing in ITC Holdings’ (NYSE:ITC) proposed acquisition of Entergy’s (NYSE:ETR) transmission business, to be held before the Thanksgiving holiday.

An administrative law judge on Oct. 15 scheduled the hearing to take place Nov. 21-22 (Docket No. 41850). The proceeding is scheduled to end in mid-December (see below for complete schedule).

“The three commissioners will hear the arguments directly … so they have more hands-on access to the process,” a spokesperson for the PUCT told TransmissionHub. “Specifically, it gives them the opportunity to question the parties during the hearing.”

If the hearing were to be held in front of the State Office of Administrative Hearings, it would be presided over by the administrative law judge, who would then issue a recommendation for the commissioners to review.

“That’s a typically longer process,” the spokesperson said.

The three Texas commissioners are Chairman Donna Nelson and commissioners Kenneth Anderson and recently appointed commissioner Brandy Marty.

PUCT staff, the Office of Public Utility Counsel, State of Texas’ agencies and institutions of higher education, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Occidental Permian, Occidental Power Marketing, and Texas Industrial Energy Consumers had submitted, on Oct. 4, their proposed procedural schedule, which, if adopted, would have placed the hearing during the week of Feb. 3, 2014. 

TransmissionHub exclusively reported on Oct. 15 that ITC and Entergy are seeking to obtain all regulatory approvals before the end of the year, though deal close has been pushed to 2014.

The transaction, which involves spinning off Entergy’s transmission business and merging it with an ITC subsidiary, needs state regulatory approvals from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Missouri. The City Council of New Orleans also must approve the transaction.

New procedural schedule:

  • Deadline to intervene – Oct. 23
  • Intervener testimony – Nov. 6
  • Commission staff and intervener cross-rebuttal testimony – Nov. 13
  • Rebuttal testimony – Nov. 15
  • Final prehearing conference – Nov. 18, 2 p.m.
  • Hearing on the merits – Nov. 21-22
  • Briefs – Dec. 6
  • Reply briefs – Dec. 13

 

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.