Conn. AG wants review of utility merger

Bryan Cohen Dec. 28, 2011, 12:59pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen continued his efforts on Wednesday to persuade state utility regulators to recognize their authority and open a state review of a proposed merger between two major utility companies.

Jepsen filed comments with the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority about the proposed merger of Northeast Utilities and NSTAR, a Boston-based utility holding company. Jepsen urged the regulators to issue a declaratory ruling, as requested by the NRG Companies, that the proposed merger between the two utilities necessitates PURA review and approval.

While PURA has not agreed with Jepsen's position, the regulators opened further proceedings to consider its authority to review, condition or approve the proposed NU/NSTAR merger on Dec. 14.

Jepsen said that NU's performance during the October snowstorm and Tropical Storm Irene, as assessed by Witt Associates, raised issues about the utility's management and its executive leadership, which should be addressed by the regulators.

"The Witt report found serious deficiencies in NU's and CL&P's management preparation for and response to these major storm-related outages," Jepsen said. "The proposed merger promises to further disrupt NU and CL&P management's ability to prepare for and respond to the next storm."

Jepsen previously argued that the merger would be a "change in control" that would lead to a new holding company, with new directors and officers, exercising control over two of the state's largest public service companies.

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