Jepsen disappointed with regulators' decision

Bryan Cohen Jun. 2, 2011, 2:10pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced on Wednesday that he was "disappointed" that state utility regulators claimed no legal authority to review a merger of two utility companies.

Northeast Utilities and Massachusetts-based NSTAR announced in October that the companies would hold a stock-for-stock merger that the companies said would result in a $17.5 billion corporation called Northeast Utilities that would have headquarters in Boston and Hartford. The company would be one of the nation's largest utilities.

Jepsen said that the regulators short-changed the interests of Connecticut consumers by deciding not to review the merger. The Department of Public Utility Control allegedly rejected arguments by Jepsen and the Office of Consumer Counsel that said the merger would create a new holding company that exercised control over Connecticut operating companies CL&P and Yankee Gas. The regulators allegedly said they had no jurisdiction to review the deal because it did not post a clear change in corporate control.

"I am disappointed that the DPUC has decided, once again, that it would pass on taking a closer look at this significant corporate change in Connecticut's largest utility company," Jepsen said.

"What will the impact be on Connecticut consumers? We just don't know. As a result, I can neither support nor oppose this merger because we are lacking the information necessary to determine whether it serves the best interest of the state."

Jepsen personally appeared in front of the DPUC personally in March, urging an independent review. The decision that was issued by regulators on Wednesday is subject to appeal.

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