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NYSEG, Central Maine Get Merger Nod

NYSEG, Central Maine Get Merger Nod

FERC last week gave its seal of approval to the $6.4 billion marriage of two major northeastern utilities --- Energy East Corp., parent of New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), and CMP Group, parent of Central Maine Power --- putting them clearly on the path to becoming a major force in the Northeast energy market.

The Commission's ruling moves Energy East of Stamford, CN, one step closer to snatching up CMP Group for about $1.2 billion in cash and debt, and realizing its goal of becoming a leading regional distributor of gas and electricity. The merger still awaits the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Energy East said it expects to close the transaction by the end of the second quarter.

Aside from seeking to acquire the Augusta, ME-based CMP Group, Energy East in February completed a merger with Connecticut Energy Corp., which owns Southern Connecticut Gas. The Connecticut LDC serves about 160,000 gas customers in the state. It also is looking to buy CTG Resources, which owns Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG), an LDC serving 142,000 customers primarily in the greater Hartford and Greenwich areas. And, it's signed a definitive agreement to acquire Berkshire Energy Resources, parent of Berkshire Gas, a gas provider serving 34,000 customers in the western section of Massachusetts. The three companies will become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Energy East.

Once all of the merger transactions are completed by late June, Energy East estimates it will serve about two million energy customers --- 1.4 million electric and 600,000 natural gas --- in upstate New York and New England.

In addition to NYSEG, which alone serves over one million power/gas customers in upstate New York, Energy East has a full range of energy-related operations in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New Jersey.

CMP's Central Maine, Maine's largest utility, serves about 533,000 customers in the central and southern parts of the state. Central Maine owns a 78% interest in Maine Electric Power., which has a major transmission interconnection in the state.

Susan Parker

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