The Washington Attorney General Office's Public Counsel Section on Wednesday gave a thumbs down to the proposed takeover of Puget Sound...
The Washington Attorney General Office’s Public Counsel Section on Wednesday gave a thumbs down to the proposed takeover of Puget Sound Energy by a group of Australian and Canadian investors, saying “consumers appear to get little or nothing in return for the increased financial risk.”
The $7.4 billion deal announced by Bellevue-based Puget Energy and Australia’s Macquarie investment bank “is not in the public interest,” the Public Counsel office said.
The office, which represents Washington consumers, filed testimony opposing the merger with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commision on Wednesday afternoon.
“Based upon our review, this sale, as proposed, simply exposes PSE’s customers to an undue level of financial risk by undertaking too much debt,” Public Counsel Chief Simon ffitch said. “At the same time, customers have no assurance that capital for infrastructure will be any more available or affordable than without the merger.”
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The deal has been approved by Puget Energy’s shareholders and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The WUTC, however, has the last word. The commission must determine that the proposed merger won’t harm utility customers if the deal is to be approved.
Puget Energy, Washington’s largest energy utility, has said that the deal, which would take the company private, would provide much needed capital for future expansion.