Tenaska has agreed to acquire a gas-fired project in Massachusetts from Ares-EIF and John Hancock Life Insurance Co.

The privately-owned independent power producer sought the approval of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to acquire the 289 MW Berkshire Power project in Agawam, Mass. on March 20.

Morgan Stanley is said to have launched an auction process for the plant on Ares-EIF's behalf last year.

The terms of the agreement, signed on March 15, could not be immediately be learned. Officials at Morgan Stanley and Ares-EIF in New York, Tenaska in Omaha, Neb., and John Hancock in Boston either declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries.

Ares-EIF owns a 67% stake in Berkshire Power, while John Hancock owns the remaining 33%. The Ares-EIF stake is held through the private equity shop's United States Power Fund II, which closed at $750 million in 2005 ( PFR, 2/4/11).

The facility has been online since June 2000.

In 2016, the project company, Berkshire Power Co., and Power Plant Management Services, a general and administrative services management consulting firm that provided project management and administrative services, agreed to pay $7.2 million in fines and civil penalties after pleading guilty to tampering with emissions equipment and misinforming regulators and the grid operator for three years.

The project’s former general manager, Frank Basile, concealed maintenance work and related outages from ISO New England  between 2008 and 2011, according to a statement published by the Office of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts, and an order issued by FERC ( PFR, 4/1/16).

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