The $5.3 billion merger of Avista Corp. and Hydro One Ltd. will be completed by the end of the year, although state approvals from Washington and Oregon must still be obtained, according to Avista CEO Scott Morris. The regulatory review process for the merger was upended last month when the provincial government of Ontario forced the retirement of Hydro One's CEO and the resignation of the utility's entire board of directors. The change in board is expected to be completed by Aug. 15, according to Morris. Avista reported 2Q2018 net income of $25.6 million (39 cents/share), compared to $21.7 million (34 cents) in 2Q2017.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has denied a petition for review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Section 401 water quality certification (WQC). Environmental groups had challenged the WQC that was issued by Virginia regulators. The court found that the certification was not “arbitrary and capricious.” MVP would move 2 Bcf/d of natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and connect with the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line to move more Appalachian natural gas to Southeast markets. The project’s in-service has already been delayed by three months to 1Q2019, as some construction has been stopped along the 300-mile route pending other legal challenges.