El Paso Electric Company (EPE) (NYSE:EE) announced today that its acquisition by the Infrastructure Investments Fund (IIF) has closed. The new Board of Directors has appointed Kelly Tomblin as incoming Chief Executive Officer.

Ms. Tomblin will join EPE after a three-decade career leading utilities both in the United States and internationally. She brings deep expertise in the generation, transmission and distribution sectors as well as renewable development, and energy services and sales. Most recently, Ms. Tomblin served as President and CEO of INTREN, L.L.C., a leading utility solutions provider with 14 regional offices across the United States. Prior to that, she served as CEO of Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), where she helped lead an energy revolution for Jamaica, which included the development of an extensive smart grid program and substantial growth in renewable energy.

Frank Cassidy, incoming Chairman of the El Paso Electric Board of Directors, said, “Kelly Tomblin is one of the most dynamic and accomplished leaders in the energy industry and we are excited to appoint her as EPE’s incoming CEO. A thorough search was conducted, and we believe Kelly’s executive experience, proven track-record of improving safety and commitment to our vision of innovation make her the ideal leader for this important time in EPE’s history.”

“This is truly an exciting time to be joining El Paso Electric as we begin our new partnership with IIF and deliver the many benefits of the transaction,” said Ms. Tomblin. “EPE plays a critical role in the communities they serve and I look forward to making this community my own. I am committed to ensuring that EPE continues to invest in our neighborhoods while delivering safe and reliable service to all our customers. As we look to the future, we have a tremendous opportunity to leverage the talent and creativity of our workforce to accelerate EPE’s transition to a smarter grid and renewable energy. I look forward to working with the EPE team to fulfill the Company’s mission of innovation as we continue to develop platforms for economic vibrancy.”

As a long-term investor in utility companies, IIF is aligned with EPE and its mission. In connection with the acquisition, the following commitments, among others, have been made to support EPE and its customers, employees and communities:

  • Local Workforce Retention and Development Opportunities: Provision for continuity of EPE’s workforce, including union and non-union employees and management. EPE will develop entry-level job training programs in the engineering, management, and finance areas at The University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), New Mexico State University (NMSU) and El Paso Community College (EPCC). EPE will also develop apprenticeships for technical and professional jobs in high schools and colleges within our service area.
  • Local Leadership and Headquarters: EPE will continue as an independently-operated, locally-led, regulated utility. EPE’s management will retain day-to-day control of EPE’s operations and will be the primary point of contact for EPE’s customers, regulators and other stakeholders. EPE will continue to be headquartered in El Paso, Texas.
  • Electric Bill Rate Credits for Customers: EPE customers will receive rate credits on their electric bills over 3 years, representing a $21 million credit for Texas customers and an $8.7 million credit for New Mexico customers.
  • Community Contributions: At least $1.2 million in annual charitable contributions will continue to be made under EPE’s existing Community Partner Program, which provides employee engagement and financial support to many local organizations that positively impact EPE’s service area.
  • Economic Sustainability Fund: EPE and IIF will dedicate a total aggregate amount of $100 million to promote economic development in EPE’s service territory. Of that amount, $80 million will be allocated to EPE’s Texas service area, to be distributed over 15 years, and $20 million will be allocated to EPE’s New Mexico service area, to be distributed over 20 years.
  • Renewable Energy Efforts: EPE will remain committed to the Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard and the New Mexico Energy Transition Act. EPE will also study and evaluate the growth of electric vehicles, renewable energy resources, and battery storage in partnership with UTEP, NMSU, and EPCC.

New EPE Board of Directors

In connection with the closing of the transaction and consistent with associated regulatory approvals, EPE has established a new 10-member Board of Directors comprised of seven independent directors including an independent Chairman, as well as two IIF designees and EPE’s CEO. The Board’s composition ensures strong, independent local oversight and includes directors who have complementary skills and expertise to support EPE’s growth and mission, including directors who have served as senior executives and board members of other regulated utility companies and who specialize in utility and power sector investments, community and regulatory affairs, human resources, accounting and finance.

Mr. Cassidy said, “This long-term partnership with IIF represents a shared vision for local job retention and development, creates a sustainable path to grow our investment in the community and ensures the future of our more than 1,100 employees, their families and the customers we serve. Our Board is made up of individuals with strong community ties and a deep understanding of regulated utilities. I and the entire incoming EPE Board are excited to support El Paso Electric, its employees, customers and communities through this next phase of growth and success.”