- Regulatory commissions in Texas and Pennsylvania are closer to full strength now and will tackle a slate of controversial and important issues in their states.
- In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Arthur D’Andrea to the Public Utility Commission for a term that expires September 2023. The state is struggling to find a new owner for Oncor Electric and is now considering a bid from Sempra Energy.
- In Pennsylvania, Norman Kennard was unanimously approved by the state Senate to serve on the PUC. He will now face a decision whether to allow a portion of a pipeline to reverse flow and give refineries in the Midwest greater access to fuel from the region.
High-profile proceedings in Texas and Pennsylvania will each have a set of fresh eyes considering the issues, after new regulators were tapped this week in those states.
In Texas, D’Andrea served as an assistant general counsel for the Office of Governor and previously served as an assistant solicitor general for the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. He fills the PUC's third seat, and will soon be thrown into a complex and lengthy debate over the future of the state's largest utility.
In Pennsylvania, Kennard was approved 49-0 by the Senate, following a unanimous recommendation earlier in by the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. Kennard is serving the remainder of the term of former Commissioner Robert Powelson, who resigned in August upon his confirmation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Kennard’s term on the five-seat board will expire March 31, 2019. Prior to his appointment to the Commission, Kennard served as counsel to Powelson, providing legal and policy advice on electric, natural gas, water, telecommunications and transportation issues.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Kennard will be considering a case involving Laurel Pipeline, which moves refined products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from refineries in Philadelphia into the western portion of the state. The proposal before the state public utility commission is to reverse flow on a portion of Laurel in western Pennsylvania. And in Texas, D’Andrea will help tackle the efforts to find a new owner for Oncor Electric, the largest utility in the state.
A bankruptcy court has approved a merger agreement between Energy Future Holdings and Sempra Energy, a key step toward securing new ownership for EFH subsidiary Oncor. Sempra has proposed to pay $9.45 billion for EFH, giving the deal an enterprise value of about $18.8 billion. The search for a new Oncor owner has now stretched three years.
This post has been updated.