WE, Integrys Closer To Merger

Apr 30, 2015

WPS Weston power plant
Credit commons.wikimedia.org

Wisconsin has become the second of four states to sign off on the proposed mega-merger between Wisconsin Energy and Chicago's Integrys Energy Group. However, the state Public Service Commission added several conditions today. That's after consumer and industrial groups said ratepayers were not being offered enough protections under the deal.  The three-member panel okayed an amendment from commission chair Ellen Nowak.  We Energies will have to share profits with electric users which exceed authorized return limits of 10-point-two percent for electricity, and 10-point-three percent for natural gas customers. Also, the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation of Green Bay would have to withdraw an application for a new natural-gas-fired power plant near Kaukauna. Nowak said it might not be needed because of We Energies' existing power supplies -- although We Energies and W-P-S-C would not be formally merged under the arrangement.  The two utilities will have to file plans with the state to explore both utilities' energy needs -- and if a study determines that the Kaukauna plant is needed, it could be filed within a month.  The proposed nine-point-one billion dollar merger of Wisconsin Energy and Integrys would create one of the largest gas utilities in the nation.  Michigan regulators and the federal government have approved the deal.  Illinois and Minnesota must still okay it.