Avista CEO Discusses Merger, NAFTA Concerns

Sep 26, 2018

Avista CEO Scott Morris
Credit Avista Coporation

Avista Utilities officials believe they are on track to get approval from utility commissions in five states to complete their merger with a Canadian company.

Hydro One of Ontario is hoping to acquire the Spokane utility.

The plan hit a bump in the road this summer when the CEO and board of directors at Hydro One were replaced.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission then asked for more information on how the management changes would affect the proposed merger. This week, Idaho regulators set a new schedule for hearings as well.

Meanwhile, Avista CEO Scott Morris believes the Trump Administration's rocky relationship with Canada and the NAFTA treaty should not endanger the merger either.

“We have been looking into seeing if the breakup of NAFTA could affect our deal. And our research and Hydro One’s says no, that we aren’t concerned about NAFTA and what it really means. And again, with 30 states having Canadian companies already owning their electric or gas utility, we aren’t concerned nor do we see anything in there that will be of concern,” said Morris.

Utility Commissions in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska must approve the merger before it can go through. If one turns it down, the deal will fail.