Attorney General George Jepsen asked state utility regulators Tuesday to require Northeast Utilities and Boston-based NSTAR to demonstrate how their proposed merger is in the public interest.
“The Applicants must prove that customers will be better off as a result of the proposed merger, not worse,” Jepsen said in a statement before the Public Utilities Control Authority as it began evidentiary hearings in New Britain on the proposed merger.
“Benefits must be in the form of tangible, up-front rate credits and a reasonable sharing of merger savings achieved over time, as well as guarantees that service quality, customer service and most importantly, storm response, are improved as a result of the merger,” Jepsen said.
The Attorney General has not yet taken a position on the merger and is waiting to see the evidence the utilities present to support their claims that the proposed merger would result in a stronger company able to improve service reliability, customer service and emergency response as well as save its customers money.
“You cannot simply assume that ‘bigger is better’ and that customer benefits will result sometime in the future,” Jepsen said. “Customers must be assured that costs will not increase as a result of this merger.”
The PURA is scheduled to continue hearings on the proposed merger this week and next, including a Feb. 22 hearing for public comment at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. The schedule calls for a draft decision by the end of March and a final decision by early April.
Assistant Attorneys General Michael Wertheimer and John Wright are assisting the Attorney General in this case with Associate Attorney General Joseph Rubin.
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