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FERC's Verdict to Impact Enbridge's (EEP) Financial Position

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Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. EEP has announced the initial evaluation of the effects of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) recent policy change, related to the recovery of income tax amounts included in the cost of service rates of pipelines within a master limited partnership (MLP).

A major change in its long-standing policy was announced by FERC on Mar 15, 2018. Pursuant to this, permit entities organized as master limited partnerships (MLPs), would no longer be able to recover an income tax allowance in the respective cost of service rates.  

The policy in place since 2005, has always treated the income tax amounts as inclusion in the rates of pipelines and other entities, subject to cost of service rate regulation within an MLP.

Enbridge Energy Partners, organized as an MLP, used to charge certain amount of the rates applicable to its expansion projects annually on a cost of service basis through the Lakehead Facility Surcharge Mechanism (FSM).

The firm plans to ask for rehearing of this policy change at the FERC. The commission's new policy will be effective when it gets published in the Federal Register probably on Mar 31, 2018 for the purpose of estimating the 2018 impact.

However, if FERC’s new policy is approved ditto its announcement, then Enbridge Energy Partners’ revenues would be reduced by around $100 million and distributable cash flow (DCF) by $60 million in 2018.

Per the prior preliminary analysis and estimates, Enbridge Energy Partners is altering its 2018 DCF guidance range to $650-$700 million from $720-$770 million and that of 2018 total distribution coverage to about 1.0x from about 1.15x.

More clarification is required with respect to the new policy statement’s implementation while the partnership firm will keep an eye on evaluating the financial impact on its operation as and when more information is available.

Price Performance

Enbridge Energy Partners’ shares have underperformed its industry in the last three months. The stock has lost 23.6% compared with the industry’s 8.4% decline.

 

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Enbridge Energy Partners carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

A few better-ranked stocks in the same sector are Statoil ASA STO, Pioneer Natural Resources Company PXD and ConocoPhillips COP, each of the three sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Statoil, based in Norway, is a major international integrated oil and gas company. It delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 23.2% in the last four quarters.

Headquartered at Irving, TX, Pioneer Natural Resources Company is an independent oil and gas exploration plus production entity. It pulled off an average beat of 66.92% in the trailing four quarters.

Houston, TX-based ConocoPhillips is a major global exploration and production company. It came up with a positive surprise of 144.45% in the last four quarters.

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Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. (EEP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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