BOSTON (AP) _ Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has asked state utility regulators to either impose a five-year rate freeze or credit electricity and natural gas customers more than $300 million in estimated savings as a condition of approving the proposed merger of NStar and Northeast Utilities.

Coakley filed her request with the state Department of Public Utilities yesterday. She said a merger between Boston-based NStar and Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities has the potential for savings through increased operating efficiency, and those savings should be passed on to customers.

The rate freeze would affect customers of NStar gas, NStar electric and Western Massachusetts Electric Co.

The $4.7 billion deal announced last year would create the largest utility in New England with 3.5 million customers. Federal regulators have approved the deal.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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