Reid urges FERC to carefully weigh Buffett’s offer to buy Nev. utility

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to carefully consider billionaire Warren Buffett’s proposal to buy Las Vegas-based NV Energy Inc. for $5.6 billion and combine it with MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.

Buffett, dubbed the “Oracle of Omaha,” proposed earlier this year to buy the Nevada utility and create the country’s largest utility holding company, spanning 10 states from Illinois to the Pacific Ocean (E&ENews PM, May 31).

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. would oversee each subsidiary company.

“This matter will impact Nevada’s clean energy future and is important to investments in the infrastructure necessary to integrate greater amounts of clean energy into our grid,” Reid told FERC in a July 23 letter. “MidAmerican has extensive experience building clean, efficient generation and transmission and they have committed to deploying this experience to the benefit of Nevadans.”

Reid also said MidAmerican has experience that will bolster the financial stability of the state’s largest electrical utility and provide new access to capital for clean energy projects. MidAmerican will bring with it operational expertise in both organized and nonorganized markets in the West and Midwest, he said.

Reid also noted that the companies have asked FERC to authorize the transaction by Dec. 19 so it can close by January 2014.

“I urge the Commission to give close consideration to the joint application filed by the two companies this month in compliance with Section 203 of the Federal Power Act,” the senator wrote.

The purchase is expected to help Iowa-based MidAmerican, an electric and gas utility, develop renewable energy in Nevada, a hotbed for solar, wind and geothermal energy production.