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Harry Reid Helps Warren Buffett Acquire Big Energy Firm

It would make Buffett's holding company the nation's 'largest utility holding company.'

9:18 AM, Jul 31, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Even if you're Warren Buffett--billionaire investor, founder of Berkshire Hathaway, and Democratic donor--it helps to have friends in high places. Through his holding company MidAmerican Energy, Buffett is currently atttempting to purchase NV Energy, a Nevada-based energy firm, and he's getting some big help from that state's senior U.S. senator, Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Energy and Environmental Daily reports (subscriber content only) that Reid, who has been publicly supporting Buffett's acquisition of NV Energy and has criticized Nevada state regulators holding up the purchase, wrote a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requesting the agency give "close consideration" to the purchase agreement. If approved, the $5.6 billion purchase would make Buffett's MidAmerican the nation's "largest utility holding company."

Here's more from E & E Daily:

"This matter will impact Nevada's clean energy future and is important to investments in the infrastructure necessary to integrate greater amounts of clean energy into our grid," Reid told FERC in a July 23 letter. "MidAmerican has extensive experience building clean, efficient generation and transmission and they have committed to deploying this experience to the benefit of Nevadans."

Reid also said MidAmerican has experience that will bolster the financial stability of the state's largest electrical utility and provide new access to capital for clean energy projects. MidAmerican will bring with it operational expertise in both organized and nonorganized markets in the West and Midwest, he said.

The current and outgoing FERC chairman is Jon Wellinghoff, who has ties to Nevada as a "consumer advocate" and whose appointment to the commission was strongly supported by Reid back in 2006. 

In June, Obama nominated Ron Binz to be FERC chairman (and the WSJ denounced him yesterday). Wellinghoff remains at his FERC post until Binz is confirmed by the Senate.

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