Who Calls the Shots If the Country’s Biggest Power Company Scoops Up Texas’ Biggest Utility?

This time, the $19 billion question is: Who gets to control Oncor Electric Delivery Co.?Last summer, NextEra Energy of Juno Beach, Fla., outbid other power companies for Oncor, the largest regulated utility in Texas and a major corporate player in downtown Dallas.Now it’s government’s turn to weigh in.On Tuesday, the Public Utility Commission in Austin starts hearings to determine if NextEra’s acquisition is in the public interest. A decision probably will come in late April and the process won’t be a rubber stamp.A year ago, the Ray Hunt family of Dallas and Oncor were in a similar position. While the PUC approved that deal, it imposed conditions that essentially killed it, opening the door for NextEra.With the Hunts, the key issue was $250 million in annual tax savings from an unusual organizational structure. The PUC wanted the savings to be shared with ratepayers, but the Hunts’ investors wouldn’t agree.For NextEra, the make-it-or-break-it deal point centers on who calls the shots at the Dallas-based utility.  Continue reading...

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