Administrative Judges Issue Recommended Decision Advising PSC to Reject Central Hudson/Fortis Merger

Two Administrative Law Judges of the New York State Department of Public Service Issued a Recommended Decision on May 3, 2013 advising the Public Service Commission to reject the proposal of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company to be acquired by Fortis, Inc., a Canadian company.  The Judges concluded:

We find it relatively easy to conclude that the benefits of the merger transaction pursuant to the Joint Proposal are outweighed by the detriments remaining after mitigation. Our rationale is that the proposed transaction has generated an extraordinarily intense degree of public opposition to a change of Central Hudson’s ownership among customers, their elected officials, and labor representatives and other public organizations in the service territory.

The Judges allowed for the possibility that the terms of the merger proposal might be improved through modification, but expressed skepticism that would be feasible.

Under the PSC decisional process, parties have the opportunity to file briefs on exceptions challenging findings or conclusions of the judges, and reply briefs to objections lodged by other parties.  Initial briefs are due May 17, and reply briefs are due May 24.

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