Monday, February 18, 2019

FERC Proposes $10M Threshold on Merger Reviews

By Rich Heidorn Jr.

FERC would no longer review mergers valued at less than $10 million under a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) approved Thursday (RM19-4). The NOPR would implement congressional direction under an amendment to Section 203 of the Federal Power Act.

“The commission interprets the amendment … as establishing a $10 million threshold, but not removing the commission’s jurisdiction to review transactions with a higher value that involve a public utility’s acquisition of facilities from non-public utilities if those facilities will be subject to the commission’s jurisdiction after the transaction is consummated,” FERC said.

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The NOPR also would require mergers or consolidations by public utilities valued above $1 million to notify the commission of the transactions.

“Although the [smaller] transactions … are unlikely to present concerns under the commission’s public interest analysis and public utilities entering into these transactions are not required to secure an order of the commission … the information the commission proposes to require in the notification filing will allow the commission to collect information about the transaction should a question arise related to the underlying facilities and the commission’s oversight under the Federal Power Act,” FERC said.

“This may seem like just a simple legislative change, but its impact in relieving administrative burdens on regulated entities is significant,” said Chairman Neil Chatterjee.

Comments on the NOPR will be due 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register.