In the News: Recent Developments

New York, NY — August 21, 2023 After a nationwide competition, the Kentucky Public Service Commission has chosen Saber Partners, LLC as its financial advisor for utility securitization. Kentucky marks the ninth state utility regulatory commission to entrust Saber Partners with providing expert guidance on this complex financial product.  Saber Partners will play a key role in assisting the Commission in evaluating the fairness, equity, and public interest aspects of utility securitization proposals to benefit utility customers.

Saber Partners has a team of accomplished financial experts, including Brian Maher, former senior executive at Exxon Mobil overseeing external finance; Hyman Schoenblum, former Treasurer of Con Ed of New York; Paul Sutherland, former finance officer at Florida Power & Light.; and Barry Abramson, former top-ranked utility equity analyst. The firm’s Advisory Board has been chaired by Alan Blinder, former vice chair of the Federal Reserve, since its establishment in 2000.   The Board also includes Becky Klein, former Chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

State regulators or ratepayer advocates have hired Saber on over $11 billion in ratepayer-backed bond financings for utilities in Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Vermont, West Virginia, District of Columbia, North Carolina, and Indiana.  Saber is currently advising the Public Service Commission of South Carolina on securitization.

Given the escalating cost of electricity, disproportionately affecting low- and middle-income households, Saber seeks to ensure that the ratepayer-backed bond financings undertaken by utilities results in the least cost to  ratepayers.  According to Fichera, Saber recognizes the challenges faced by utilities in attempting to recover extraordinary costs such as storm damages and retirement of coal plants. The firm brings experience and depth to the table as it strives to assist regulatory commissions in maximizing savings for ratepayers from these complex transactions.

“We are deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve the state of Kentucky,” remarked Mr. Fichera. “In these financial transactions, every dollar of costs represents a ratepayer dollar. When negotiating with Wall Street, it is imperative that the financing structure, marketing, and pricing are accurately aligned.  Otherwise, financial institutions and favored investors could reap undeserved gains, taking important savings from the average electricity consumer.”

According to the Florida Public Service Commission, which similarly engaged Saber Partners after nationwide competitions in 2005 and 2015  “We found [Saber’s] combination of senior executive experience in the banking, corporate and utility businesses set them apart from other advisors. That enables them to help the Commission achieve the lowest financing cost for the ratepayer by identifying and enabling “best practices” from all parties in the securitization transaction.”

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