Several ETA Principals played key value-additive roles over a seven year period in the successful evaluation, acquisition, transition, and subsequent profitable disposition of the Upper Peninsula Power Company (“UPPCO”), a Michigan-based, regulated electric generation and distribution company, by a NY/London based infrastructure fund.
Two ETA Principals initially led the independent engineering evaluation of UPPCO prior to its acquisition, which included technical assessments of the condition, operations, staffing, maintenance, and performance of over 4,000 miles of electric distribution assets, 7 baseload hydroelectric power plants, and 2 fossil-fueled, peaking combustion turbine power plants. This evaluation also included the undertaking of several Phase 1 environmental site assessments.
The initial engagement also included taking a lead role in transition planning, where pre-acquisition work included a complete mapping/costing of all management structures and services provided by the selling, parent company’s Chicago-based shared services organization. This transition planning work also included advising on the multi-year transition services agreements, and generating recommendations and cost/risk analyses for the creation of a stand-alone management team and operation.
Immediately prior to the acquisition of UPPCO in August 2014, one of the ETA Principals was approached to fill an urgent vacancy, and act as the interim CFO of UPPCO. In this interim management role, the ETA Principal assisted in the closing of $230 million of acquisition and capital expansion debt, the securing of a Moody’s investment grade rating, the initial establishment of stand-alone accounting, financial reporting, treasury, legal and human resources departments, led all financial aspects of the company’s first independent rate case filing, and led UPPCO’s evaluation into the acquisition of the Michigan distribution and power generation assets of two neighboring utilities.
Following the hiring of a permanent CFO and the transitioning of duties, the ETA Principal became the Chief Transition Officer and continued to lead the development of the remaining service groups (including regulatory affairs, government/community relations, customer service, billing, call center, engineering services, system operations) that were being recreated under two 18- and 30-month transition services agreements with Integrys Energy.
This ETA Principal was joined by another current ETA information technology specialist, and together they served as project manager and cost controller of a multi-year, $20 million information technology project involving the introduction of a new, fully-integrated SAP enterprise and customer relations/billing system, along with fifteen separate operational IT systems (including GIS, metering, meter testing, outage management, safety compliance, CAD, pole loading, system design, and a new, isolated SCADA system to independently run the grid and power plants from a newly designed and NERC compliant system operations center).
The ETA Principal who had served as CFO and CTO was subsequently re-engaged one year after departure to further assist UPPCO in the preparation of its first-ever commission-mandated Integrated Resources Plan (which is leading to the development of a new 60 megawatt solar facility in its service territory), and to provide financial modeling support for the company’s second independent rate case filing. The last engagement of ETA prior to the sale of UPPCO in early 2021 was for one of its Principals to be on site at UPPCO’s headquarters in 2020 to assist with the onboarding of a new CFO immediately prior to the commencement of the company sales process.