Hydro One and Avista Reach Settlement in Principle in Washington Merger Case
TORONTO and SPOKANE, Wash., March 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hydro One Limited (“Hydro One”) (TSX:H) and Avista Corporation (“Avista”) (NYSE:AVA) have reached a significant milestone in the
regulatory approval process of the proposed merger. Notification of a settlement in principle with various parties has been filed with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
(“WUTC”). The parties intend to file a settlement agreement with the WUTC on or before March 27, 2018. The settlement in principle is subject to the review and approval of the WUTC. Hydro One and
Avista continue to anticipate closing the transaction in the second half of 2018.
"This agreement in principle marks an important step towards bringing together two historic companies positioned to deliver long-term value for customers, employees, communities and shareholders," said Mayo Schmidt, President and CEO, Hydro One. “As we move forward to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals, we continue to actively engage the parties involved to the benefit of all groups.”
“This is a significant achievement and the result of the collaboration and diligent efforts of all the parties over the last several months,” Avista Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Scott L. Morris said. “We look forward to filing the settlement agreement later in March and affirming the commitments we’ve made to all of our stakeholders.”
The settlement in principle includes provisions related to financial protections for the utility and its customers, low income customers, conservation and the environment.
The settlement in principle also incorporates the use of a portion of Avista’s deferred federal income taxes for the purpose of accelerating the depreciation schedule for Colstrip Units 3 and 4 to reflect a remaining useful life of those units through Dec. 31, 2027. This settlement in principle does not reflect any agreement with respect to the ultimate closure of Units 3 and 4.
All of these items and other terms of the agreement will be disclosed in detail when the settlement agreement is finalized and filed for approval by the WUTC, which is expected to be on or before March 27, 2018.
In addition to Hydro One and Avista, the parties to the merger proceeding include the Staff of the WUTC, the Public Counsel Unit of the Washington Office of Attorney General, the Northwest Industrial Gas Users, the Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities, The Energy Project, Northwest Energy Coalition, Renewable Northwest, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and the Washington and Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers.
The transaction received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) on Jan. 16, 2018 and from Avista shareholders on Nov. 21, 2017.
Applications for regulatory approval of the transaction are still pending with utility commissions in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska. Approval must be obtained from the Federal Communications Commission. Also required is clearance by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, and compliance with applicable requirements under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, as well as the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
For further information:
Director, Corporate Communications
Director, Investor Relations
Casey Fielder, Communications Manager
Lauren Pendergraft, Investor Relations Manager
About Hydro One Limited
We are Ontario's largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with more than 1.3 million valued customers, over $25 billion in assets and 2017 annual revenues of nearly $6 billion. Our team of over 7,400 skilled and dedicated regular and non-regular employees proudly and safely serves suburban, rural and remote communities across Ontario through our 30,000 circuit km of high-voltage transmission and 123,000 circuit km of primary distribution networks. Hydro One is committed to the communities we serve, and has been rated as the top utility in Canada for its corporate citizenship, sustainability, and diversity initiatives. We are one of only five utility companies in Canada to achieve the Sustainable Electricity Company designation from the Canadian Electricity Association. We also provide advanced broadband telecommunications services on a wholesale basis utilizing our extensive fibre optic network. Hydro One Limited's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:H).