ATTORNEY GENERAL:PURA AGREES TO REVIEW
PROPOSED NU/NSTAR MERGER
(HARTFORD) – Attorney General George Jepsen said state utility regulators are helping to ensure that Connecticut utility customers are protected with a final decision today to review the proposed merger of Northeast Utilities and NStar, a Boston-based utility holding company.
Most importantly, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority accepted the Attorney General’s recommendation and ordered NU not to complete the proposed merger until the Authority “has issued a final decision approving the merger.”
“This decision was a long time in coming. The review is important because it means the interests of Connecticut and NU’s Connecticut customers may be considered before any merger goes forward,” Attorney General Jepsen said.
The regulators said they would decide on a timetable for the review after NU submits an application, but were “mindful” of NU’s plan to complete the merger in April. PURA said it would “dedicate all necessary staff resources to achieve a complete and thorough regulatory review consistent with that time schedule."
The final decision, which affirmed a draft decision issued earlier this month, represented a reversal from PURA’s long-standing position that it lacked legal authority to review the merger. The regulators said they were persuaded otherwise by new information and arguments submitted by the Attorney General and the Office of Consumer Counsel.
PURA said it was “legally obliged to review the proposed merger to ensure that after any resulting merger [NU’s Connecticut Light & Power Co. and Yankee Gas Co. subsidiaries] will have the qualifications and ability to provide safe, adequate, reliable and reasonably-priced services for Connecticut customers.”
Assistant Attorneys General John Wright and Michael Wertheimer are handing this matter for the Attorney General with Associate Attorney General Joseph Rubin. Assistant Attorney General Clare Kindall, head of the Energy Department, represents PURA.