Conn. AG happy with decision on merger

Bryan Cohen Mar. 27, 2012, 1:38pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen praised a draft decision by state utility regulators on Tuesday that would enable the proposed merger of Northeast Utilities and Boston-based NSTAR to continue.

The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority gave tentative approval to a settlement agreement with the two utility companies and the proposed merger conditioned on the terms of the agreement. The PURA, which stated that the agreements were in the public interest, worked with Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz in negotiating the settlement agreement.

"We wanted to make sure the merger provided substantial benefits to Connecticut ratepayers," Jepsen said. "As a result, we negotiated those benefits for the state: from a rate freeze to preservation of open space to investments in Connecticut's energy future and distribution system improvements. We are pleased that PURA agreed."

The written exceptions to the draft decision are due on Thursday and oral arguments are due on Friday. A final decision is scheduled for Monday. The settlement agreement must have state approval on or before Monday, along with completion of the merger for the agreement's terms to become binding.

The authority found that the settlement was advantageous to customers of NU's Connecticut Light & Power due to a $25 million rate credit, a rate freeze until Dec. 1, 2014, $300 million in spending for additional system resiliency, $15 million to fund an energy efficiency program, the development of a micro grid infrastructure, charitable cash donations and civil commitments, a lineman apprenticeship program, improved storm response and the establishment of an irrevocable land trust.

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