GridLiance subsidiary and City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., reach agreement on asset purchase

GridLiance subsidiary South Central MCN LLC (South Central), which is planning to purchase the transmission assets of the city of Nixa, Mo., reached an agreement with the City Utilities (CU) of Springfield, Mo., that resolves CU’s objections to the purchase, South Central and CU told FERC in an April 15 filing.

GridLiance, which was formed in 2014 as a transmission company designed to develop, own and maintain transmission assets in partnership with electric cooperative, municipal utilities and joint action agencies, in early April completed its purchase of the transmission assets of Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC), based in Hooker, Okla. TCEC’s assets included about 410 miles of transmission lines.

GridLiance’s purchase of Nixa’s assets, which involve about 10 miles of transmission lines and related facilities, has been pending at FERC and objected to by CU, which protested the rate impact of the deal because the Nixa assets would have been placed in the CU transmission pricing zone of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

South Central, the GridLiance subsidiary set up to operate in the SPP region, amended its agreement with Nixa so that the assets will not be placed in the CU transmission pricing zone, eliminating the rate impact on CU, South Central told FERC in a March 11 filing. The amended purchase agreement with Nixa includes a condition that the Nixa assets will be placed in Zone 10 of SPP, South Central said.

South Central and CU have been engaged in discussions to resolve CU’s objections to the deal and they have reached an agreement in principle that would be executed following endorsement by the CU board at an upcoming meeting, South Central and CU said in their joint comments filed at FERC April 15 (Docket No. EC16-53).

Based on that agreement in principle, South Central and CU said that the inclusion of Nixa’s assets in Zone 10 by SPP “is a binding condition precedent to the transaction for which approval is sought, which condition precedent shall be fully satisfied before South Central shall consummate the transaction.”

Also, South Central and Nixa have agreed that they will not amend, modify or alter the amended agreement without the advance and written consent of CU, South Central and CU told FERC.

In a separate statement issued April 18, GridLiance said that Jeff Bishop has joined the company as senior vice president, chief financial officer (CFO) and treasurer. Bishop, who most recently was CFO at municipal utility Seattle City Light, will work closely with the GridLiance board to carry out the company’s strategy of partnering with public power entities on transmission issues, the company said.

Bishop’s “deep understanding of the challenges Public Power faces in gaining a meaningful voice in the regional and national transmission planning and award process will be extremely valuable as we accelerate our strategy,” Ed Rahill, GridLiance president and CEO, said in the statement.