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GridLiance completes purchase of Okla. transmission assets

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GridLiance completes purchase of Okla. transmission assets

GridLianceHoldco LP, an entity formed to invest in electric transmission assets owned bypublic power entities, on April 4 announced the closing of its acquisition ofthe transmission assets of Tri-County Electric Cooperative Inc. in Oklahoma.

TheTri-County assets consist of about 410 miles of 69-kV and 115-kV lines andrelated substations. GridLianceGP LLC, which is backed by Blackstone Group LP affiliate Blackstone EnergyPartners, is acquiring the assets through its subsidiary. Theacquisition, along with a smaller transaction, was last summer.

"Joiningforces with GridLiance allows us to prioritize distribution system improvementswhile leaving the upgrading of our transmission assets in GridLiance's verycapable and experienced hands," Tri-County CEO Jack Perkins said in a newsrelease. "Equally as important, we look forward to jointly investing withthem in transmission projects that were previously inaccessible to us."

Thetransaction includes a co-development agreement under which GridLiance willrepresent Tri-County, or TCEC, and its members interests in the planning anddevelopment of new transmission assets in the region. TCECserves about 23,000 member-customers mainly in the western end of the OklahomaPanhandle, with small amounts of service territory in neighboring Colorado,Kansas, New Mexico and Texas.

Theother acquisition, for the transmission assets of the city of Nixa, Mo., isstill proceeding, a representative for GridLiance said.

SouthCentral MCN in September 2015 applied to FERC for a transmission rate formula so thatit could establish an annual transmission revenue requirement for transmissionservice over facilities it will own in the SPP, such as the TCEC assets. FERCapproved the request on Oct. 29, 2015, but set the matter for hearing.

OnMarch 31, FERC issued an order on rehearing in the transmission rate formularequest, denying rehearing requests and granting clarification of the Octoberorder. The commission reiterated, among other things, its denial of a100-basis-point adder to South Central's return on equity for being a Transco.FERC said that South Central's business structure, under which its public powerpartners will have up to one-third of the seats on South Central's board andwill have ownership interests in any competitive projects awarded by SPP toSouth Central, does not treat the public power entities as limited partnerswith passive investor interests but market participants that could influence day-to-dayoperations. (ER15-2594)

GridLiancewas established inearly 2015 to partner with municipal and cooperative utilities and createopportunities for them to invest in new electric transmission projects in RTO markets.Along with the completion of the acquisition announced April 4, the companysaid it has named Kevin Hopper as president of its SPP region, Neal Chapman asvice president of engineering and Jim Useldinger as vice president ofoperations. They will oversee the engineering and operation functions of theTCEC assets and will help plan the company's expansion, GridLiance said.