PSC Extends Time for Public Comment on Fortis’ Proposed Acquisition of Central Hudson Gas & Electric to May 1

On March 22, 2013 the Secretary of the PSC issued a Notice extending until May 1, 2013 the time for comments on the proposed acquisition of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company by Fortis Inc.  The Notice was issued in response to requests from many individuals and local and state governmental officials.  These include Assembly Member Kevin Cahill,  State Senator Terry Gipson, the Ulster County LegislatureUlster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, the Town of New Paltz,who requested more time for public involvement and for public issuance of a Recommended Decision and the opportunity to comment on it before the PSC decides the case.

PULP opposed a proposed settlement of some parties who are urging PSC approval of the merger.  See PULP Comments Oppose Central Hudson/Fortis Merger Case Settlement Proposal.   In its Initial and Reply comments, PULP argues that the merger is mainly a financial and corporate restructuring with little actual gain in operational efficiency, that the putative benefits to customers are not concrete and do not outweigh the risks.  These risks include possible future downsizing of offices and workforce, and potential loss of PSC jurisdiction over the holding company that would own Central Hudson.  PULP notes in its initial comments that the merger is not supported by any independent representative of residential customers.

The International Brotherhood of Electical Workers (IBEW) Local 320, in its Initial and Reply comments, also opposed the proposed merger, which occurs amid trends of downsizing and outsourcing of the utility work force by Central Hudson, and which makes no promises regarding the future beyond two years.

The PSC case documents, public comments, and a facility for electronic filing of public comments, are here.

Comments can be emailed to the PSC Secretary at Secretary@dps.ny.gov. Those unable to submit electronically may mail or deliver their comments to the Hon. Jeffrey C. Cohen, Acting Secretary, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350. All comments submitted to the Secretary will be posted on the Commission’s website and become part of the official case record.

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