FERC filing resolves objections to Kentucky utilities acquisition

Pennsylvania-based PPL Corp. and E.ON U.S. LLC, have filed a notice of settlement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the utilities say resolves objections to PPL’s acquisition of Louisville Gas & Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. from the U.S. subsidiary of Germany-based E.ON AG.

PPL and E.ON announced in April that E.ON agreed to sell PPL the two Kentucky utilities for $7.625 billion.

Among other assets, the deal would add Kentucky Utilities’ 24-MW Dix Dam on the Dix River and LG&E’s 100.6-MW Ohio Falls project (No. 289) on the Ohio River to PPL’s hydropower portfolio.

Two groups of municipal utilities, Ohio-based American Municipal Power and Kentucky Municipals, had filed objections to the acquisition based on concerns about transmission and wholesale electricity sales issues. PPL and E.ON’s Sept. 15 filing listed new commitments from PPL that mainly honored existing commitments of the Kentucky utilities and agreed to work with stakeholders in the region on transmission and wholesale power issues.

“Based upon these additional commitments, AMP and Kentucky Municipals have agreed to withdraw their limited protests and authorize the applicants (PPL and E.ON) to state that AMP and Kentucky Municipals agree that there is no longer any dispute as to any material issue in this docket,” the filing said.

PPL and E.ON said additional approvals are expected in the next few weeks from the Kentucky Public Service Commission, the Virginia Corporation Commission, and the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. As a result, PPL and E.ON said they seek to move the acquisition closing date up to Oct. 31 from Dec. 31. Therefore, they asked FERC to complete its approval of the acquisition by Oct. 15.

PPL intends to operate the acquisition as a wholly owned subsidiary of PPL Corp., retaining the headquarters in Louisville, as has been the case with E.ON ownership. Customers will continue to be served by LG&E and KU, with operational headquarters in Louisville and Lexington.

The Allentown, Pa.-based PPL Corp. operates more than 12,000 MW of generating capacity including hydropower. Its major hydro projects include: 107.2-MW Holtwood on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River, which it is expanding by 125 MW, and 44-MW Wallenpaupack on Pennsylvania’s Lake Wallenpaupack. PPL announced in September it would sell its one-third share of the 241-MW Safe Harbor hydro project on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania along with other non-core assets to LS Power Equity Advisors.

Subsidiary PPL Montana’s 11 hydro plants on Montana’s Clark Fork, Flathead, Madison, and Missouri rivers total 602 MW, with construction under way of a new 62-MW Rainbow hydro plant. Subsidiary PPL Maine recently sold three small hydro plants in Maine to a salmon restoration group for decommissioning. PPL Maine sold its other six Maine plants in 2009 to Black Bear Hydro Partners LLC.

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