Washington Utility Regulators Won't Reconsider Avista Merger
Washington utility regulators have dealt another blow to Avista’s proposed merger with Hydro One, the Canadian electrical transmission and distribution utility.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission issued a statement Tuesday morning that said it would take no action on the two companies’ request that the agency reconsider its earlier ruling.
In December, the commission said it would not endorse the proposed acquisition of Avista by Hydro One.
Until June, the deal seemed to be proceeding on a smooth path. That is until Doug Ford took over as premier of the province of Ontario, where Hydro One is based. He immediately fulfilled a campaign promise to replace the utility’s board of directors and CEO and vowed to reduce provincial electric rates by 12%.
Washington regulators cited those actions when they considered whether to approve the deal. Commission members said, despite what officials from the two companies said, the actions showed Avista and its customers were not protected from political influence in Ontario.
After the ruling, Avista and Hydro One asked the commission to reconsider. Tuesday, the agency said it would not do so.
This comes about a week after Idaho’s Public Utilities Commission also rejected the proposed merger. Avista and Hydro One have not yet announced how they would respond to that.