The El Paso Inc. this week came out with this enticing story:
An El Paso businessman has commissioned an independent financial study examining the upcoming sale of El Paso Electric to a private equity firm as some in El Paso raise questions about the deal, including former Mayor Larry Francis.
Businessman Ted Houghton has commissioned Ken Anderson, a former member of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, to study the financial aspects of El Paso Electric’s sale to JP Morgan’s Infrastructure Investments Fund.
Houghton, founder of Houghton Financial Partners and former chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, said the study should be ready this week.
Hmm. You remember how it was going down? From a June 3 story on the El Paso Times website:
El Paso Electric has agreed to be sold to J.P. Morgan’s Infrastructure Investments Fund (IIF) for $4.3 billion, including debt, the utility announced Monday.
El Paso Electric would continue to operate as an independently operated utility headquartered in El Paso with the current executive team managing it, and the utility’s 1,100 employees would remain in place, according to a news release.
However, the company would no longer be a publicly traded company if the deal is approved by El Paso Electric shareholders and government regulators.
The deal, which was unanimously approved by El Paso Electric’s board of directors, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020, El Paso Electric reported.
And then there’s this, about a month later, from the El Paso Times on July 1:
El Paso Electric President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Kipp will leave the company Aug. 1 to take a job as president and eventual CEO of Puget Sound Energy in the Seattle area, company officials announced Monday.
That’s just about how long it took for the ink to dry. Ms. Kipp can’t wait to get out of El Paso.
The (unconfirmed) word on the street is that EPEC sold off it’s long term debt and is currently operating on 90-day loans. As though the Board of Directors were just fattening the goose before they sold it.
Any financial malfeasance would come home to roost in the form of rate increases for the poor El Pasoans who aren’t able to move to Seattle to take jobs as CEOs of regional energy companies.
You know who you are.
But not to worry, El Paso. Our Mayor Dee Margo is on the job, calling for a comprehensive investigation of the sale.
Not really. Mayor Margo’s all for it.
“We have enough to say grace over, figuring out how to run public safety and streets without taking on the utility,” Margo said. “I don’t think that’s the highest or best use of our resources or dollars.”
I wonder if Mayor Margo owns El Paso Electric stock.