The state consumer advocate said today that the proposed settlement on the sale of Puget Sound Energy is an "inferior choice" because it...

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The state consumer advocate said today that the proposed settlement on the sale of Puget Sound Energy is an “inferior choice” because it fails to mitigate the risk of burdening the utility with more debt.

In a press statement, the Attorney General’s Public Counsel section chief, Simon ffitch, said the concessions made by the would-be buyers of Washington’s largest utility are not enough to offset a “dramatic” increase in debt and financial risk.

“The company has successfully been able to raise capital for its infrastructure needs and doesn’t even claim that this deal will make capital more affordable. If that’s the case, from the public interest perspective, what is the need for this transaction?” ffitch asked in the statement. The statement coincided with the agency’s filing of new expert testimony opposing the takeover.

Other critics of the transaction dropped their complaints after the international consortium that has proposed acquiring the Bellevue-based utility agreed in late July to increase its equity commitment to the $7.4 billion transaction by $200 million, among other concessions. The buyers are led by the Macquarie Group, an Australian investment bank.

Ángel González: 206-515-5644 or agonzalez@seattletimes.com