Southern Union Co. has begun distributing proxy statements in preparation for a special meeting of shareholders Dec. 9 to vote on the company’s proposed acquisition by Energy Transfer Equity LP (ETE) (see Daily GPI, Aug. 8; July 20). Shareholders of record as of Oct. 11 may vote in person at the meeting in New York City or by proxy. Approval of the merger agreement requires a simple majority of Southern Union’s outstanding shares of common stock. Shareholders who directly or indirectly own 13.4% of the company’s stock already have voted in favor of the agreement. Southern Union’s board of directors also has unanimously recommended the merger’s approval.

Washington state regulators have adjusted retail natural gas rates for Spokane, WA-based Avista Utilities and Portland, OR-based NW Natural utility customers. The changes are effective Tuesday (Nov. 1). While reducing Avista’s electric utility rates an average of 2.6%, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) raised retail gas rates slightly, resulting in an average monthly increase in residential gas bills of less than $1/month. For NW Natural customers in Washington state, the UTC approved decreases of 2% and 2.2% for residential and commercial customers, respectively. NW Natural serves more than 650,000 homes and businesses in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Washington gets its gas supplies from British Columbia, Alberta and the Rockies (principally Wyoming).

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