FERC Okays Merger of Western Utilities

FERC yesterday readily approved the $4 billion merger of two western utilities-Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power. This was "relatively easy" compared to other deals that have come before the Commission, said Commissioner Vicky Bailey.

The merger partners' competitive analysis showed there were "no merger-induced increases in concentration" above the level established by FERC in its merger policy statement. In addition, the planned divestiture of the partners' merger assets, which was ordered by the Nevada Public Service Commission (PSC) as a condition to approving the merger, "[was] sufficient to ensure that the merger would not adversely affect competition, FERC staff said.

In issuing its order, Commissioner Linda Breathitt said FERC took "careful note" not to "preempt or interfere" with the Nevada PSC's independent proceeding on the combination of the two utilities.

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