Friday, February 25, 2011

PUC Approves FirstEnergy Merger With Condition

FirstEnergy has cleared the last hurdle in its efforts to acquire rival power company Allegheny Energy. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission voted yesterday to approve the union, which means that four electric utilities operating in Pennsylvania will have the same parent company.

Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy announced last year that it was buying Greensburg based Allegheny Energy. The companies say this was the final regulatory approval needed to close the transaction. Federal, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia regulators have already given their approvals. Together, the merged company will include ten electric utilities serving 6 million customers in seven states including 2 million in Pennsylvania.

The vote by the PUC was 3-2 in favor of the deal. To get those votes the merger agreement had to include several stipulations. Among them was a deal to offer $10.7 million in Credits to residential customers of West Penn Power. FirstEnergy Spokesperson Ellen Raines says that money would be spread over 3 years and will amount to about 50-cents a month. FirstEnergy has also agreed to maintain at least 600 employees at a regional office in Greensburg for at least 5 years.

The PUC has also approved an investigation into the level of competition in the state’s electricity industry.

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