Massachusetts Utilities Put Finishing Touches on Merger
Boston-based BEC Energy and Commonwealth Energy System completed
their merger into $4.5 billion NSTAR last Wednesday - one day after
winning approval for the transaction from the Securities and
The merged company, NSTAR, now becomes the largest combined
electric-gas utility in Massachusetts. Through its utility
subsidiaries - Boston Edison, Cambridge Electric, Commonwealth
Electric and Commonwealth Gas - it will serve about 1.3 million
customers in the state, including just over one million electric
customers in the eastern section and 240,000 gas users in central
and southeastern Massachusetts. The company's goal is to serve 2
million utility customers by the end of 2001.
"The new company allows us to broaden our customer base, and to
capture the savings opportunities that the combined operations can
produce," said Thomas J. May, who has been named chairman and CEO
of NSTAR. And like most utilities in the Northeast region, he
indicated that NSTAR will continue to evaluate other
The company's goal has been to "become the premier wires and
pipes delivery company [and]...to get out of the generation
business. That's all happened already," said NSTAR spokesman
Michael Monahan. "We're the first utility in the nation to sell off
our full portfolio of fossil fuel generating plants. We [also] were
the first utility in the nation to sell a nuclear power plant in
the auction process."
Under the terms of the merger agreement, BEC Energy shareholders
can elect to receive either $44.10 in cash or one NSTAR common
share for each BEC Energy share held, and Commonwealth Energy
shareholders can elect to receive either $44.10 in cash or 1.05
NSTAR common share for each Commonwealth Energy share held.
Election forms were mailed to shareholders of the two companies
The merger of the two utility companies into NSTAR, which is
headquartered in Boston, took less than nine months to complete.
Russell Wright, who was president and CEO of Commonwealth Energy,
will be president and COO of the new company.
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