- The Public Utilities Commission of Texas rejected NextEra Energy's proposal to to purchase Oncor Electric out of bankruptcy for a third time, and a brief memorandum indicates regulators may be tiring of the proceeding.
- Commissioner Ken Anderson in a memo wrote that he was not persuaded by NextEra's "regurgitation of essentially the same arguments," and said it was time to look for another solution.
- Oncor has been seeking a new owner since its parent company Energy Future Holdings declared bankruptcy in 2014. Regulators want to ensure the independence of the utility's board and reduce risk for ratepayers, but NextEra rejected deal conditions to allay those concerns.
Texas regulators have a message for NextEra officials: It's time to move on.
For a third time, the PUC has rejected the company's plan to purchase Oncor, noting that NextEra continues to submit the same proposal without addressing regulators' concerns.
"I remain unpersuaded by,their regurgitation of essentially the same arguments," Anderson wrote. "It is time to bring this chapter in the EFH bankruptcy to a close and consider other options more suitable to Oncor and its ratepayers as well as ERCOT and its market participants."
The commission's decision was not a surprise.
In rejecting NextEra's initial offer, regulators said they wanted to ensure Oncor's independence and financial security. In April, NextEra CEO Jim Robo announced the company would ask the commission to reconsider—but he said the company would hold firm on issues around Oncor board members and its ability to access dividends.
Robo said in April, "we think we would be a terrific owner of Oncor," but said accepting the PUC's conditions would be "bad business." The first request for reconsideration was rejected, and now the second.
NextEra was the original frontrunner for Oncor before EFH canceled a planned auction and agreed to Hunt Consolidated's proposal to spin off Oncor as a Real Estate Investment Trust. When regulators rejected that proposal, NextEra came back to the table.