(HARTFORD) -- Acting in response to a motion filed Tuesday by the Attorney General and the Consumer Counsel, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has ruled that Northeast Utilities and NStar “must demonstrate that the proposed merger is in the public interest in order to gain PURA approval.”
In their one-page decision issued Wednesday, the regulators wrote, “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.”
Attorney General George Jepsen said he appreciated the PURA’s swift response. “This is an important step forward for consumers. 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,” Jepsen said.
Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz said “PURA confirmed that Northeast Utilities and NSTAR need to show us that their proposed merger will be good for Connecticut’s ratepayers. 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.”
Hearings before the PURA on the proposed merger begin next week. The schedule calls for a proposed draft decision March 26 and a final decision April 2.Assistant Attorneys General Michael Wertheimer and John Wright are representing the Attorney General in this matter with Associate Attorney General Joseph Rubin. Staff Attorneys Victoria Hackett and Joseph Rosenthal are representing the Consumer Counsel.