SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
(Release No. 35-27803)
Filings Under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, as amended ("Act")
February 20, 2004
Notice is hereby given that the following filings have been made with the Commission pursuant to provisions of the Act and rules promulgated under the Act. All interested persons are referred to the application(s) and/or declaration(s) for complete statements of the proposed transaction(s) summarized below. The application(s) and/or declaration(s) and any amendment(s) is/are available for public inspection through the Commission's Branch of Public Reference.
Interested persons wishing to comment or request a hearing on the application(s) and/or declaration(s) should submit their views in writing by March 16, 2004 to the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C. 20549-0609, and serve a copy on the relevant applicant(s) and/or declarant(s) at the address(es) specified below. Proof of service (by affidavit or, in the case of an attorney at law, by certificate) should be filed with the request. Any request for hearing should identify specifically the issues of facts or law that are disputed. A person who so requests will be notified of any hearing, if ordered, and will receive a copy of any notice or order issued in the matter. After March 16, 2004, the application(s) and/or declaration(s), as filed or as amended, may be granted and/or permitted to become effective.
Northeast Utilities, et al. (70-10177)
Northeast Utilities ("NU"), 174 Brush Hill Avenue, West Springfield, Massachusetts 01089, a registered public-utility holding company under the Act, NU's wholly owned nonutility subsidiary, NU Enterprises, Inc. ("NUEI"), and NUEI's wholly owned subsidiary, Select Energy, Inc. ("Select"), both located at 107 Selden Street, Berlin, Connecticut 06037 (collectively with NU and NUEI, "Applicants"), have filed an application-declaration ("Application") under sections 6(a), 7, 9(a), 10, 12(b) and (c), 32 and 33 of the Act and rules 43, 45, 46, 53 and 54.
NU, NUEI and Select propose that the Commission authorize:
NU and NUEI1 seek Commission authorization to invest an additional amount, of up to $500 million, in excess of the amount permitted the Applicants currently under rule 58 in currently existing and new "energy-related companies," as defined in rule 58, through the Authorization Period, as discussed further below. The Applicants anticipate that the investments will include securities acquisitions, open account advances and the issuance of Guarantees.
NU's need to increase its ability to invest in its rule 58 companies is driven primarily by the expanded activity of Select.2 NU states that it, like many utilities during the industry restructuring which has evolved in the United States, has divested most of its generating assets and increased its focus on the marketing and brokering of energy and related services. Moreover, energy marketing and brokering activities have become an integral part of NU's business and its strategy for competing in the restructured energy industry, as shown in the increasing revenues of, and NU's investment in, Select.3 NU anticipates that, as its energy marketing and brokering business continues to grow, it will find it necessary to make additional investments in its energy-related companies of up to $500 million. For this reason, under sections 9 and 10 of the Act, NU is seeking authorization to invest up to an additional $500 million in new and existing rule 58 energy-related companies through the Authorization Period, including Guarantees. NU and NUEI also request that, at the end of the proposed Authorization Period, any investments made in those companies, in excess of the rule 58 limit, be permitted to continue when any unused portion must expire.4
Secondly, Applicants now seek an order authorizing the issuance of guarantees up to an aggregate amount of $750 million for their nonutility subsidiaries and affiliates, including any Nonutility Subsidiaries that may be formed or acquired during the Authorization Period. Through June 30, 2004, the Commission authorized NU and NUEI to, among other things, issue guarantees and similar forms of credits support or enhancements for NU and NUEI's Nonutility Subsidiaries in an aggregate amount not to exceed $500 million by its order dated September 30, 2003. Holding Co. Act Release No. 27730 (Sept. 30, 2003). The authorization sought, and described above, to invest in rule 58 energy-related companies, under section 9 and 10 of the Act, and this authorization for NU and NUEI to provide credit support to its competitive affiliates up to the Guarantee Limit will enable NU to grow its competitive businesses as appropriate and necessary to continue to compete with other energy marketing companies.
NU also seeks authority for Select to engage in a variety of activities related to its energy marketing and brokering business, including: (i) the brokering, marketing and trading of other energy commodities, including gas and electric transmission entitlements, weather hedging products, emission credits and financial derivative products (i.e., "paper products") in respect of any of these commodities (including, but not limited to, hedges, swaps, forwards, options and the like), anywhere in the world, but request the Commission to reserve jurisdiction on the provision of such services outside of the United States, Mexico and Canada, and (ii) the rendering of energy management services and demand-side management services anywhere in the world.
NU also requests authorization to increase the aggregate amount it may invest in EWGs to up to $1.0 billion during the Authorization Period (an amount that would include NU's current investment of $449 million in its only EWG). The Commission previously has authorized NU's investment in EWGs in an amount in excess of the 50% safe harbor limit provided by rule 53, by order dated March 7, 2000 ("March 7, 2000 Order"). Holding Co. Act Release No. 27148 (Mar. 7, 2000). NU states that the ownership of additional generation, on satisfactory terms, is important to support NUEI's energy trading and marketing business. NU further states that the proposed EWG investment limit represents approximately 125% of NU's average "consolidated retained earnings" as defined in rule 53(a)(1), for the four quarterly periods ending September 30, 2003 and that the proposed investment limit of $1 billion compares favorably with the EWG investment limits authorized by the Commission.5
Finally, NU seeks authority to engage in internal corporate reorganizations to better organize its Nonutility Subsidiaries and investments. NU currently engages, directly or indirectly through its Nonutility Subsidiaries, in certain nonutility businesses. No authority is sought to make new investments or to change the organization for the Utility Subsidiaries. "Utility Subsidiary" for the purposes of this section means the NU Utility Companies and Yankee Gas. NU requests approval to consolidate or otherwise reorganize all or any part of its direct and indirect ownership interests in Nonutility Subsidiaries, and the activities and functions related to these investments.6 The internal transactions would be undertaken to eliminate corporate complexities, to combine related business segments for staffing and management purposes, to eliminate administrative costs, to achieve tax savings, or for other ordinary and necessary business purposes. NU requests authority to engage in such transactions through the
Authorization Period. The transactions proposed will not involve the sale, transfer or other disposition of any utility assets of any Utility Subsidiary to any other person, nor will they involve any change in the corporate ownership of, or involve any restructuring of, the Utility Subsidiaries.
For the Commission, by the Division of Investment Management, under delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland
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