State Regulators OK Sale of PSE to Investors
by Associated Press
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 30, 2008
OLYMPIA, Wash., -- State regulators have approved the pending sale of Puget Sound Energy for $7.4 billion to a group of investors from Canada and Australia.
The state's largest private utility can be sold to New York-based Puget Holdings LLC, the state Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission announced Tuesday. While based in New York, the company is held by foreign investors.
In a 2-1 opinion, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission concluded the sale, subject to conditions to protect customers and the public interest, would be "consistent with the public interest" and would not harm ratepayers, the legal standard for approval of such sales.
The proposed sale was supported by the commission's staff, Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities, Northwest Industrial Gas Users, The Kroger Company, The Energy Project and Northwest Energy Coalition. It was opposed by the Public Counsel Section of the Attorney General's Office.
UTC Chairman Mark Sidran and Commissioner Patrick Oshie voted in favor of the sale, saying the commission will continue to regulate the utility's gas and electric rates and services.
Commissioner Philip Jones dissented, writing that he believes the agreement "creates too much risk, and potential harm, for ratepayers and stakeholders."
Bellevue-based PSE is the state's largest electric and natural gas utility, serving more than 1 million electric and 737,000 natural gas customers, primarily in Western Washington.
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