NextEra asks Texas to reconsider bankrupt power company deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Florida utility company NextEra Energy Inc asked Texas regulators on Monday to reconsider a decision that threatens to kill its roughly $18 billion bid to acquire bankrupt Energy Future Holding Corp, the majority owner of Oncor, Texas’ largest power network.

The request, announced in a public filing, keeps the deal, a key part of Energy Future’s plan to exit its three-year-long bankruptcy, alive for now. The three-member Public Utility Commission of Texas has until June 7 to respond to NextEra’s request, said Terry Hadley, a spokesman for the regulators.

Hadley said regulators were reviewing NextEra’s request.

NextEra said in its motion for rehearing that the regulators went beyond the scope of their powers when they decided earlier this year that its proposal for Energy Future was not in the public interest and was too risky for ratepayers.

NextEra argues the deal would actually help the financial health of Oncor because it could lead to an upgrade of its credit rating and eliminate legacy debt.

NextEra declined to elaborate beyond the filing. Energy Future declined to comment.

One factor in the efforts to complete the acquisition is a $275 million breakup fee if the deal fails due to certain reasons.

This is the second proposal to sell Oncor that has met resistance from regulators. A separate plan to sell the power network to a group of creditors and investors led by privately held Hunt Consolidated Inc of Texas collapsed in 2016 after hitting obstacles from the commission.

The commission had said of NextEra’s proposal that it was concerned about the debt of the combined company, the independence of Oncor’s board and payments to the parent company at the expense of Oncor.