AG Coakley wants investigation of merger

John O'Brien Apr. 10, 2007, 5:00pm


BOSTON - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is admittedly curious about what kind of impact a proposed merger may have.

On Friday, she filed a petition with the state's Department of Telecommunications and Energy requesting that Massachusetts utility regulators investigate the proposed deal between National Grid and KeySpan.

The merger was approved in October by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. National Grid is acquiring KeySpan for $7.3 billion and the assumption of $4.5 billion of debt.

"The proposed merger between National Grid and KeySpan will affect over 2 million Massachusetts customers," Coakley said. "An oversight investigation by state regulators will help to ensure that ratepayers are adequately protected and share in any savings or other benefits as a result of this massive transaction."

According to a release, Coakley is requesting that state regulators:

-Order the companies to disclose the terms of existing and successor service company agreements;

-Examine and quantify the merger related costs and benefits to Massachusetts consumers;

-Establish reporting requirements and special penalties for the failure to improve preexisting safety and reliability problems;

-Institute ongoing oversight and reporting requirements to assure that no adverse impacts are experienced by Massachusetts customers as a result of the merger; and

-Ensure that Massachusetts customers receive at least equal benefits from the merger as the customers in other affected states.

In March, the companies provided a response to February testimony from New York's Public Service Commission. They claim the merger will provide $500 million in permanent savings to customers in New York.

National Grid is an international energy delivery business. KeySpan would be the fifth U.S. business it has acquired.

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