Senate President Wants Investigation of NU-NSTAR Merger

utility pole

Northeast Utilities plans to buy NSTAR in a $17.5 billion deal that would create the region’s biggest utility company.

On Tuesday, State Senate President Donald E Williams Jr. urged the state Department of Public Utility Control to investigate the proposed merger.

Williams sent a letter on Tuesday to DPUC Chairman Kevin DelGobbo asking the department to delay any decision on the issue until a public hearing is held.

“We must learn from the other mergers in other sectors of our economy that have eliminated thousands of jobs and not provided the promised benefits to consumers in quality of service or cost,” Williams wrote. “Few things are more important right now than controlling energy costs and preserving and creating jobs.”

On Monday, Attorney General George Jepsen asked state utility regulators to exercise “clear authority” to review the proposed merger.

“This merger has enormous potential ramifications in Connecticut. It is important that any impact on consumers be considered and weighed and any necessary conditions to protect them be imposed before this merger goes through,” Jepsen said.

On Jan. 19, the state Department of Public Utility Control said it had no authority to review the merger because there was no clear change in corporate control.

“The NU that will exist if the merger is consummated as proposed is a vastly different corporate entity from the NU that currently operates in the state of Connecticut,” Jepsen wrote on Monday. “The only thing remaining constant after this merger will be the name of the surviving entity – NU.”

Jepsen said proposed management changes indicate that a new entity would have the power to exercise control over Connecticut public service companies CL&P and Yankee Gas.

The proposal is a stock-for-stock merger that would result in a corporation called Northeast Utilities, which would have headquarters in Boston and Hartford.

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