As more electric companies try to enter the securitization market in Texas, the light gets dimmer on the stranded cost sector.

Central Power and Light (CPL) expected a financing order from the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) by the first week of February, but only a draft of the order was released on Feb. 3.

"A draft order is just that, a draft," stated Terry Hadley, PUC spokesman. It would have to be approved or rejected or modified by the Commission and that is their next meeting on Feb. 10."

Hadley said that it is possible to have a final financing order by the Commission's next meeting.

However, a source close to the transaction said PUC will only take up the case on Feb 10 but the final decision will be made on Feb 24. CPL could even decide to ask for an extension up to Feb. 28, which is the jurisdictional deadline.

One of the points of contention between the parties is in the choice of the underwriter. PUC has chosen Prudential Securities Inc. to be its lead manager while CPL wants Goldman, Sachs & Co. to be its book-runner.

Hadley says a decision on the issue is expected on Feb. 10. "But if you remember the last meeting which was on Jan. 27, it was supposed to be decided then. If the commission feels it needs more information it may not decide on the issue, but the indication is they would like to make a decision on the 10th," he added.

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