WUTC denises Avista, Hydro One merger

Staff Writer

State regulators have denied the Canada-based Hydro One Limited’s proposed acquisition of Spokane-based Avista, finding the proposed merger does not serve the public’s best interet.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission determined the proposed merger agreement does not adequately protect Avista or its customers from political and financial risk, nor does it provide a net benefit to customers as required by state law.
In its order, the commission stated:“The proposed transaction cannot be said to be consistent with the public interest when it is evident that decisions affecting Hydro One’s and Avista’s business operations and financial integrity are subject to political considerations that may motivate one provincial leader or another to make decisions and take actions in the future that may cause harm instead of promoting the best interests of Avista, its customers, and Hydro One’s non-government shareholders.”
In September 2017, Avista and Hydro One filed a joint application with the commission to approve the companies’ proposed merger agreement.
Spokane-based Avista serves more than 240,000 electric and nearly 153,000 natural gas customers in eastern Washington.
Hydro One is Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with more than 1.3 million customers.