There is no comparable deal on the table. Oncor#8217;s two previous suitors, NextEra Energy and the Hunt family, were not willing to agree to the protections Berkshire Hathaway has offered. And based on its bankruptcy court filings, a potential offer being put together by Elliott Management would also fall far short of the terms proposed by BHE.
Unfortunately, most of Oncor#8217;s recent suitors refused to maintain these financial protections, and the PUC was right to reject those deals.
Without those protections, Oncor#8217;s customers would have been captive to a utility that had no financial resources to build new facilities or provide service to its customers, with the potential for massive rate increases driven by the financing requirements of the enormous debt burden. Oncor and its captive customers have been spared this fate because the PUC has followed the law and fulfilled its duty to protect the public interest.
Tony Bennett is president of the Texas Association of Manufacturers. Email: email@example.com
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Compared to prior suitors, the proposal from Warren Buffett#8217;s Berkshire Hathaway Energy looks different. BHE sat down with Oncor, some customers and the commission staff to hear their concerns. Berkshire Hathaway Energy has agreed to not only maintain the current protections to insulate Oncor from risky financial endeavors at the parent company level, but to enhance them. Berkshire Hathaway has committed to maintaining Oncor#8217;s independence, service and financial health at a level that prior purchasers were unwilling to consider. These protections would ensure that Oncor can continue to provide the quality of service that manufacturers and other businesses rely on to grow and thrive.