Vistra will sell two power plants totaling 386 MW in Ohio to ease concerns it could unfairly raise power prices in the PJM Interconnection by buying Energy Harbor, the companies said Monday.
Vistra is seeking Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for a $6.3 billion deal to buy Energy Harbor’s nuclear power plants and retail electric business. However, the Department of Justice’s antitrust division and others contend the deal may give Vistra the ability to unduly influence power prices in PJM.
Much of the market power concerns center on the American Transmission Systems Inc. transmission zone, known as ATSI. It is the only zone in PJM where Vistra and Energy Harbor both own power plants, the companies said in a Monday filing at FERC.
Energy Harbor’s 950-MW Davis Besse and 1,260-MW Perry nuclear power plants are in the ATSI transmission zone along with Vistra’s 369-MW gas- and oil-fired Richmond power plant and 17-MW oil-fired Stryker unit, the companies said in response to a “deficiency letter” from FERC staff, which sought additional information on the transaction.
Although the proposed Energy Harbor transaction raises no competitive concerns, the sale of the Richmond and Stryker plants will resolve the issue, Vistra and Energy Harbor told FERC.
“In an effort to put to rest any potential arguments to the contrary and provide for a quicker review process to allow applicants to close on the proposed transaction as soon as possible, including for customer, employee and investor certainty, applicants are herein also including an affirmative commitment to divest the only generation facilities currently owned by Vistra in ATSI — the Richland and Stryker facilities,” Vistra and Energy Harbor said.
Pending the sale of the two power plants, Vistra will sell electricity from them to PJM at their cost-based offers, the companies said.
After Vistra buys the Energy Harbor assets to form Vistra Vision, the company will only develop, own and operate non-fossil fuel generating facilities, engage in competitive retail power marketing activities, and conduct related activities such as selling renewable energy credits, the companies said.
Vistra and privately held Energy Harbor expect to complete their deal in the fourth quarter, according to a Sept. 12 filing at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The deal has prompted letters of concerns to FERC from the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council and Monitoring Analytics, the PJM’s market monitor.
Energy Harbor’s income from continuing operations jumped to $29 million in the first half this year, up from a $138 million loss in the same period in 2022, according to the SEC filing. First-half revenue increased to $1.2 billion from $816 million in the first six months last year.