26 CFR § 1.141-7 - Special rules for output facilities.
(a) Overview. This section provides special rules to determine whether arrangements for the purchase of output from an output facility cause an issue of bonds to meet the private business tests. For this purpose, unless otherwise stated, water facilities are treated as output facilities. Sections 1.141-3 and 1.141-4 generally apply to determine whether other types of arrangements for use of an output facility cause an issue to meet the private business tests.
(1) Available output. The available output of a facility financed by an issue is determined by multiplying the number of units produced or to be produced by the facility in one year by the number of years in the measurement period of that facility for that issue.
(i) Generating facilities. The number of units produced or to be produced by a generating facility in one year is determined by reference to its nameplate capacity or the equivalent (or where there is no nameplate capacity or the equivalent, its maximum capacity), which is not reduced for reserves, maintenance or other unutilized capacity.
(ii) Transmission and other output facilities -
(A) In general. For transmission, distribution, cogeneration, and other output facilities, available output must be measured in a reasonable manner to reflect capacity.
(B) Electric transmission facilities. Measurement of the available output of all or a portion of electric transmission facilities may be determined in a manner consistent with the reporting rules and requirements for transmission networks promulgated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). For example, for a transmission network, the use of aggregate load and load share ratios in a manner consistent with the requirements of the FERC may be reasonable. In addition, depending on the facts and circumstances, measurement of the available output of transmission facilities using thermal capacity or transfer capacity may be reasonable.
(iii) Special rule for facilities with significant unutilized capacity. If an issuer reasonably expects on the issue date that persons that are treated as private business users will purchase more than 30 percent of the actual output of the facility financed with the issue, the Commissioner may determine the number of units produced or to be produced by the facility in one year on a reasonable basis other than by reference to nameplate or other capacity, such as the average expected annual output of the facility. For example, the Commissioner may determine the available output of a financed peaking electric generating unit by reference to the reasonably expected annual output of that unit if the issuer reasonably expects, on the issue date of bonds that finance the unit, that an investor-owned utility will purchase more than 30 percent of the actual output of the facility during the measurement period under a take or pay contract, even if the amount of output purchased is less than 10 percent of the available output determined by reference to nameplate capacity. The reasonably expected annual output of the generating facility must be consistent with the capacity reported for prudent reliability purposes.
(iv) Special rule for facilities with a limited source of supply. If a limited source of supply constrains the output of an output facility, the number of units produced or to be produced by the facility must be determined by reasonably taking into account those constraints. For this purpose, a limited source of supply shall include a physical limitation (for example, flow of water), but not an economic limitation (for example, cost of coal or gas). For example, the available output of a hydroelectric unit must be determined by reference to the reasonably expected annual flow of water through the unit.
(3) Sale at wholesale. A sale at wholesale means a sale of output to any person for resale.
(4) Take contract and take or pay contract. A take contract is an output contract under which a purchaser agrees to pay for the output under the contract if the output facility is capable of providing the output. A take or pay contract is an output contract under which a purchaser agrees to pay for the output under the contract, whether or not the output facility is capable of providing the output.
(5) Requirements contract. A requirements contract is an output contract, other than a take contract or a take or pay contract, under which a nongovernmental person agrees to purchase all or part of its output requirements.
(c) Output contracts -
(1) General rule. The purchase pursuant to a contract by a nongovernmental person of available output of an output facility (output contract) financed with proceeds of an issue is taken into account under the private business tests if the purchase has the effect of transferring the benefits of owning the facility and the burdens of paying the debt service on bonds used (directly or indirectly) to finance the facility (the benefits and burdens test). See paragraph (c)(4) of this section for the treatment of an output contract that is properly characterized as a lease for Federal income tax purposes. See paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section for rules regarding measuring the use of, and payments of debt service for, an output facility for determining whether the private business tests are met. See also § 1.141-8 for rules for when an issue that finances an output facility (other than a water facility) meets the private business tests because the nonqualified amount of the issue exceeds $15 million.
(2) Take contract or take or pay contract. The benefits and burdens test is met if a nongovernmental person agrees pursuant to a take contract or a take or pay contract to purchase available output of a facility.
(3) Requirements contract -
(i) In general. A requirements contract may satisfy the benefits and burdens test under paragraph (c)(3)(ii) or (iii) of this section. See § 1.141-15(f)(2) for special effective dates for the application of this paragraph (c)(3) to issues financing facilities subject to requirements contracts.
(ii) Requirements contract similar to take contract or take or pay contract. A requirements contract generally meets the benefits and burdens test to the extent that it contains contractual terms that obligate the purchaser to make payments that are not contingent on the output requirements of the purchaser or that obligate the purchaser to have output requirements. For example, a requirements contract with an industrial purchaser meets the benefits and burdens test if the purchaser enters into additional contractual obligations with the issuer or another governmental unit not to cease operations. A requirements contract does not meet the benefits and burdens test, however, by reason of a provision that requires the purchaser to pay reasonable and customary damages (including liquidated damages) in the event of a default, or a provision that permits the purchaser to pay a specified amount to terminate the contract while the purchaser has requirements, in each case if the amount of the payment is reasonably related to the purchaser's obligation to buy requirements that is discharged by the payment.
(iii) Wholesale requirements contract -
(2) The amount of output to be purchased under the contract (and any other requirements contract with the same purchaser or a related party with respect to the facility) does not exceed 5 percent of the available output of the facility.
(4) Output contract properly characterized as a lease. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an output contract that is properly characterized as a lease for Federal income tax purposes shall be tested under the rules contained in §§ 1.141-3 and 1.141-4 to determine whether it is taken into account under the private business tests.
(d) Measurement of private business use. If an output contract results in private business use under this section, the amount of private business use generally is the amount of output purchased under the contract.
(e) Measurement of private security or payment. The measurement of payments made or to be made by nongovernmental persons under output contracts as a percent of the debt service of an issue is determined under the rules provided in § 1.141-4.
(f) Exceptions for certain contracts -
(1) Small purchases of output. An output contract for the use of a facility is not taken into account under the private business tests if the average annual payments to be made under the contract do not exceed 1 percent of the average annual debt service on all outstanding tax-exempt bonds issued to finance the facility, determined as of the effective date of the contract.
(2) Swapping and pooling arrangements. An agreement that provides for swapping or pooling of output by one or more governmental persons and one or more non governmental persons does not result in private business use of the output facility owned by the governmental person to the extent that -
(ii) The purpose of the agreement is to enable each of the parties to satisfy different peak load demands, to accommodate temporary outages, to diversify supply, or to enhance reliability in accordance with prudent reliability standards.
(4) Certain conduit parties disregarded. A nongovernmental person acting solely as a conduit for the exchange of output among governmentally owned and operated utilities is disregarded in determining whether the private business tests are met with respect to financed facilities owned by a governmental person.
(g) Special rules for electric output facilities used to provide open access -
(1) Operation of transmission facilities by nongovernmental persons -
(i) In general. The operation of an electric transmission facility by a nongovernmental person may result in private business use of the facility under § 1.141-3 and this section based on all the facts and circumstances. For example, a transmission facility is generally used for a private business use if a nongovernmental person enters into a contract to operate the facility and receives compensation based, in whole or in part, on a share of net profits from the operation of the facility.
(ii) Certain use by independent transmission operators. A contract for the operation of an electric transmission facility by an independent entity, such as a regional transmission organization or an independent system operator (independent transmission operator), does not constitute private business use of the facility if -
(B) The operation of the facility by the independent transmission operator is approved by the FERC under one or more provisions of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 791a through 825r) (or by a state authority under comparable provisions of state law);
(2) Certain use by nongovernmental persons under output contracts -
(B) The facility is available for use on a nondiscriminatory, open access basis by buyers and sellers of electricity in accordance with rates that are generally applicable and uniformly applied within the meaning of § 1.141-3(c)(2); and
(3) Ancillary services. The use of an electric output facility to provide ancillary services required to be offered as part of an open access transmission tariff under rules promulgated by the FERC under the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 791a through 825r) (or by a state regulatory authority under comparable provisions of state law) does not result in private business use.
(4) Exceptions to deliberate action rules -
(A) The contract is entered into in response to (or in anticipation of) an order by the United States under sections 211 and 212 of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 824j and 824k) (or a state regulatory authority under comparable provisions of state law); and
(ii) Actions taken to implement non-discriminatory, open access. An action is not treated as a deliberate action under § 1.141-2(d) if it is taken to implement the offering of non-discriminatory, open access tariffs for the use of electric transmission or distribution facilities in a manner consistent with rules promulgated by the FERC under sections 205 and 206 of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 824d and 824e) (or comparable provisions of state law). This paragraph (g)(4)(ii) does not apply, however, to the sale, exchange, or other disposition (within the meaning of section 1001(a)) of transmission or distribution facilities to a nongovernmental person.
(iii) Application of reasonable expectations test to certain current refunding bonds. An action taken or to be taken with respect to electric transmission or distribution facilities refinanced by an issue is not taken into account under the reasonable expectations test of § 1.141-2(d) if -
(A) The action is described in paragraph (g)(4)(i) or (ii) of this section;
(5) Additional transactions as permitted by the Commissioner. The Commissioner may, by published guidance, set forth additional circumstances in which the use of electric output facilities in a restructured electric industry does not constitute private business use.
(h) Allocations of output facilities and systems -
(1) Facts and circumstances analysis. Whether output sold under an output contract is allocated to a particular facility (for example, a generating unit), to the entire system of the seller of that output (net of any uses of that system output allocated to a particular facility), or to a portion of a facility is based on all the facts and circumstances. Significant factors to be considered in determining the allocation of an output contract to financed property are the following:
(i) The extent to which it is physically possible to deliver output to or from a particular facility or system.
(2) Illustrations. The following illustrate the factors set forth in paragraph (h)(1) of this section:
(i) Physical possibility. Output from a generating unit that is fed directly into a low voltage distribution system of the owner of that unit and that cannot physically leave that distribution system generally must be allocated to those receiving electricity through that distribution system. Output may be allocated without regard to physical limitations, however, if exchange or similar agreements provide output to a purchaser where, but for the exchange agreements, it would not be possible for the seller to provide output to that purchaser.
(ii) Contract terms relating to performance. A contract to provide a specified amount of electricity from a system, but only when at least that amount of electricity is being generated by a particular unit, is allocated to that unit. For example, a contract to buy 20 MW of system power with a right to take up to 40 percent of the actual output of a specific 50 MW facility whenever total system output is insufficient to meet all of the seller's obligations generally is allocated to the specific facility rather than to the system.
(iii) Common plan of financing. A contract entered into as part of a common plan of financing for a facility generally is allocated to the facility if debt service for the issue of bonds is reasonably expected to be paid, directly or indirectly, from payments under the contract.
(3) Transmission and distribution contracts. Whether use under an output contract for transmission or distribution is allocated to a particular facility or to a transmission or distribution network is based on all the facts and circumstances, in a manner similar to paragraphs (h)(1) and (2) of this section. In general, the method used to determine payments under a contract is a more significant contract term for this purpose than nominal contract path. In general, if reasonable and consistently applied, the determination of use of transmission or distribution facilities under an output contract may be based on a method used by third parties, such as reliability councils.
(ii) Under paragraph (d) of this section, the amount of reasonably expected private business use under this contract is approximately 15 percent (30 MW × 24 hours × 365 days × 10 years, or 2,628,000 MWh) of the available output. Accordingly, the issue meets the private business use test. J reasonably expects that the amount to be paid for an average of 30 MW of power (less the operation and maintenance costs directly attributable to generating that 30 MW of power), will be more than 10 percent of debt service on the issue on a present-value basis. Accordingly, the issue meets the private security or payment test because J reasonably expects that payment of more than 10 percent of the debt service will be indirectly derived from payments by T. The bonds are private activity bonds under paragraph (c) of this section. Further, if 15 percent of the sale proceeds of the issue is greater than $15 million and the issue meets the private security or payment test with respect to the $15 million output limitation, the bonds are also private activity bonds under section 141(b)(4). See § 1.141-8.
(ii) The facts are the same as in paragraph (i) of this Example 3, except that the contract requires I to make guaranteed minimum payments, regardless of I's requirements, in an amount such that the contract does not meet the exception for small purchases in paragraph (f)(1) of this section. Under paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section, the contract meets the benefits and burdens test because it obligates I to make payments that are not contingent on its output requirements. Thus, it is taken into account under the private business tests.
(ii) Company A is located in D's service territory. In 2004, Power Supplier E, a nongovernmental person, enters into a 10-year contract with A to supply A's electricity requirements. The electricity supplied by E to A will be transmitted over D's transmission and distribution facilities. D's distribution facilities are available for use on a nondiscriminatory, open access basis by buyers and sellers of electricity in accordance with rates that are generally applicable and uniformly applied within the meaning of § 1.141-3(c)(2). D's facilities are not financed for a principal purpose of providing the facilities for use by E. Under paragraph (g)(2) of this section, the contract between A and E does not result in private business use of D's facilities.