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Moody's changes outlook on Electric Transmission Texas to negative

Moody's on March 11 revised its outlook on Electric Transmission Texas LLC to negative from stable following its review of the company's updated financial plan.

Electric Transmission Texas, a joint venture between American Electric Power Co. Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Energy, recently updated its financial plan, which "incorporates a higher level of capital spending and more leverage than our prior expectations," Moody's said in a March 11 report.

The revision reflects the ratings agency's expectation of a continued deterioration in the company's credit metrics in 2019 and 2020, after the negative impact of the federal tax reform and a 2017 Public Utilities Commission of Texas-approved rate reduction settlement on the company's revenue and cash flows.

The plan "incorporates additional leverage and dividends that result in the company's regulated capital structure remaining very closely aligned with its authorized 60% debt ratio rather than the previously assumed gradual deleveraging," Moody's said.

The rating agency affirmed the company's issuer rating at Baa1.

Electric Transmission Texas owns and operates transmission lines within the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas and is fully regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.