Poughkeepsie-based Central Hudson and Fortis, the Canadian energy concern, responded May 30 to state Public Service Commission (PSC) concerns about its merger, eager to keep the deal alive.
On May 3, a pair of administrative law judges said the negatives of the merger outweighed any upside.
“In today’s consolidating utility industry, Central Hudson’s future is very uncertain without Fortis as a partner,” said Steven Lant, CH’s president and CEO, in a letter to the PSC. “No alternate transaction could likely ensure that Central Hudson would remain an independently operated company. Absent Fortis, our customers will be deprived of nearly $50 million in benefits and we will need to seek near-term delivery rate increases in order to fund our capital investments. That undesirable and uncertain alternative must be avoided.”
In the letter, Lant and Fortis CFO Barry Perry asked the PSC to approve the merger transaction at its next scheduled meeting on June 13.
The energy companies said customers will receive $49.25 million of “tangible, hard-dollar” benefits from the merger, while a freeze in customer rates will be extended by an additional year, through July 1, 2015.
The merged company would double its commitment to community projects from five to 10 years. Additionally, Lant and Perry said CH’s union workers support the merge and all of its 875 workers will benefit from increased job security.