Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Berkshire Hathaway Energy Earnings Up on Solar Rebound

Bankruptcy Hearing Set for Aug. 21 on Oncor Purchase

By Rich Heidorn Jr.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy reported a $38 million increase in earnings for the second quarter over a year earlier, largely because of improved performance of BHE Renewables.

The renewable unit saw net income increase $39 million due primarily to higher generation at the Solar Star projects, which were hobbled by transformer-related forced outages in 2016. It also benefited from earnings from tax equity investments reaching commercial operation and additional wind and solar capacity placed in service.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy earnings


BHE Transmission’s earnings dropped by $15 million from lower earnings at AltaLink and BHE U.S. Transmission, which saw lower income from Electric Transmission Texas because of new rates that took effect in March.

Oncor Hearing Set

BHE is awaiting an Aug. 21 U.S. bankruptcy court hearing on its proposed $9 billion acquisition of Energy Future Holdings’ Texas utility Oncor. BHE’s bid is being opposed by EFH’s largest creditor, Elliott Management, which won an 11-day delay in the hearing after telling the bankruptcy court on July 26 that 10 other investors are interested in joining it in a competing bid. (See PUCT Staff Welcomes Buffett’s Oncor Bid; Debtor Miffed.)

Elliott’s $9.3 billion offer values Oncor at $18.5 billion including debt, exceeding the $18.1 billion valuation in BHE’s all-cash deal.

BHE said July 26 that it supports Oncor’s rate settlement with Texas regulators and its agreement to swap $400 million of assets with Sharyland Utilities. “The rate settlement contemplates a stronger financial structure for Oncor, with more owner-funded equity to fund proposed projects and investments in the grid,” BHE said.

| Sharyland Utilitities

Pending approval by Texas regulators, Sharyland would take over 258 miles of 345-kV transmission from Oncor in exchange for Sharyland’s distribution network and retail delivery customers. “Oncor will be welcoming thousands of new customers, many of which are located in areas that have seen significant load growth, like the Permian Basin,” said Oncor CEO Bob Shapard.

The proposed swap was submitted to the Public Utility Commission of Texas on Friday (Docket No. 47469).