HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced on Thursday that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has ruled that NStar and Northeast Utilities must show that a proposed merger is in the public's best interest.
PURA was acting in response to a motion filed on Tuesday by Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz. The authority released a one page decision on Wednesday.
"The authority reaffirms and rules, consistent with past precedent, that applicants in the present proceeding must demonstrate that the proposed merger is in the public interest in order to gain PURA approval," the regulators said.
Jepsen expressed appreciation at the fast response PURA made to the motion he and the consumer counsel filed.
"This is an important step forward for consumers," Jepsen said. "It means that this merger cannot be approved unless it benefits not only utility shareholders, but the ratepayers in Connecticut. I will continue to press for real tangible benefits to all Connecticut Light & Power Co. and Yankee Gas customers."
Hearings before the authority on the proposed merger will start next week. There will be a proposed draft decision on March 26, with a final decision on April 2.
"PURA confirmed that Northeast Utilities and NSTAR need to show us that their proposed merger will be good for Connecticut's ratepayers," Katz said. "We were confident that this was the correct standard, and we thank the PURA for quickly clarifying that. Connecticut ratepayers should feel very comfortable with this decision."