Andrew “Landy” Gilbert talks about companies in which Infrastructure Investments Fund, or IIF, invests.
The deadline for El Paso Electric’s pending $4.3 billion sale has been extended to Sept. 1.
The sale’s closing deadline had been today, June 1.
Officials with the electric utility and the buyer, the JP Morgan Chase-tied Infrastructure Investments Fund, or IIF, announced Monday that they agreed to extend the sale deadline as they await a final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.
Even though the sale deadline has been extended three months, officials in a statement said they still expect the sale to be completed in the first half of this year, which would have it done by the end of June.
A provision to extend the sale deadline if needed is in the original sale agreement between the utility and IIF, an El Paso Electric spokesman said. The deadline extension has no impact on El Paso Electric’s operations, the spokesman said in an email.
The federal agency approved the proposed sale March 30 but ruled it could not be completed until the agency approves a mitigation plan to change power contracts at the Mesquite power plant in Arizona. That’s to avoid some power competition problems because an IIF company has some ownership in the power plant.
El Paso Electric and IIF on April 15 submitted two mitigation proposals, for which FERC has yet to take action.
The FERC approval is the last needed for the sale. It has taken a year for the proposed sale to wind its way through regulatory reviews from Texas, New Mexico, and federal government agencies, including El Paso City Council.
El Paso Electric, which would remain headquartered in El Paso after the sale, has about 435,000 customers in the El Paso area and in the Las Cruces area in southern New Mexico. It employs about 1,100 people.
Also pending before the FERC, are requests for a rehearing of the agency’s March 30 approval from Public Citizen, a national consumer watchdog group, and three Democratic U.S. Senators: Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon and Edward Markey of Massachusetts.
FERC in its March 30 order rejected earlier requests by Public Citizen, the three U.S. Senators, and El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, to hold an evidentiary hearing in the El Paso Electric case to clear up questions about JPMorgan’s ties to IIF.
DON’ MISS A BEAT on El Paso Electric’s coming changes. Click here to subscribe to elpasotimes.com
Questions and concerns about JP Morgan Chase’s ties to IIF were dismissed in the FERC order as not relevant to the federal agency’s evaluation and approval of the proposed sale.
Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen energy program director, has said that the requests for a rehearing in the case won’t stop the sale because FERC has months, even years to answer the request.
The 117-year-old electric utility is currently owned by mostly large institutional investors who hold most of the company’s stock shares that have been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange for 72 years.
If the sale to IIF is completed as expected, the utility will become a private company and its stock will be taken off the New York Stock Exchange.
Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/2020/06/01/el-paso-electric-sale-deadline-extended-due-to-pending-federal-approval/5308743002/