Washington AG opposed to utility takeover

Rob McKenna

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)-Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna's office Wednesday recommended that a proposed takeover of Puget Sound Energy by a group of Australian and Canadian investors not be allowed.

The attorney general's Public Counsel Section said the $7.4 billion deal between Puget Energy and Australia's Macquarie investment bank would likely ratepayers "little or nothing in return for the increased financial risk."

The deal "is not in the public interest," the AG's office said in a statement.

The Office of Public Counsel filed its opposition to the deal with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission on Wednesday.

"Based upon our review, this sale, as proposed, simply exposes PSE's customers to an undue level of financial risk by undertaking too much debt," Public Counsel Chief Simon ffitch said. "At the same time, customers have no assurance that capital for infrastructure will be any more available or affordable than without the merger."

Already, the deal has been approved by Puget Energy's shareholders and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

However, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has the final say, and can block the deal.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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