Counsumer Counsel Urges Approval Of Utility Merger

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut’s consumer counsel is backing a proposed agreement that would see Northeast Utilities purchase a Massachusetts energy company for $4.9 billion.

Elin Swanson Katz says the agreement offers significant benefits for Connecticut consumers.

She urged the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to approve the deal at a hearing Friday.

Northeast Utilities agreed to a $25 million rate credit for customers, a separate rate freeze on distribution costs, $300 million for system improvements and other demands by Connecticut in exchange for state approval of the utility’s proposal to buy Boston-based NStar.

Massachusetts also is considering NU’s purchase of NStar. The utilities agreed to buy more than a quarter of the power produced by the long-planned Cape Wind offshore wind farm as a condition of the deal.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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