NextEra seeks to vet NRG’s interests in potential Oncor deal

As NextEra Energy Resources prepares for potential approval of its acquisition of Oncor, the Dallas-based transmission company, the company has asked the Public Utility Commission of Texas to vet the interests of NextEra competitor NRG Energy.

If the PUC approves the deal, NextEra could be forced to comply with the state’s so-called “ring fence” provision, which mandates that transmission and distribution companies like Oncor can’t own power generation or retail electricity companies. If it acquires Oncor, NextEra could have to get rid of Houston-based Gexa, a retail electric company, as well as some of its Texas wind farms.

But the PUC enforces the “ring fence” provision, so it’s not certain what NextEra will have to divest, said Terry Hadley, a spokesman for the PUC. The PUC must make a decision about the proposed acquisition and its terms by April 29, or else the deal will be automatically approved, said Hadley.

In a document filed to the PUC last week, NextEra asked that NRG state whether it hopes to acquire Gexa Energy, NextEra’s only retail electric company. NextEra is also asking NRG to admit or deny that its competitive interests in Texas will be well served by NextEra’s loss of its power generation and retail electric assets.

In recent years, NextEra has transitioned to more renewable energy resources and has starting selling its power plants. In 2015, it sold two of its largest gas-fired power plants, both in Texas, to Luminant, the Dallas-based energy company.