Wisconsin Energy acquires Integrys Energy

Illinois utility regulators are on the clock after their counterparts in Wisconsin on Thursday approved Wisconsin Energy’s US$5.7 billion deal to acquire Chicago-based Integrys Energy.

Wisconsin regulators approved the proposed deal with some conditions, including a cap on earnings for two Milwaukee gas utilities that are owned by Wisconsin Energy, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Still, some industry groups say regulators didn’t go far enough to protect ratepayers, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Integrys employees sue for US$7M in stock benefits

In Illinois, the two utilities have pledged not to raise rates and to maintain staffing levels in the state for at least two years in an effort to win regulatory approval. Integrys is the parent company of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called on the Illinois Commerce Commission to reject the deal unless Wisconsin Energy makes more concessions to Chicago ratepayers. Emanuel would like the utility to freeze rates for three to five years.

The regulatory review in Illinois also has been complicated by allegations of mismanagement of Peoples Gas’ US$2.2 billion gas main replacement program.

The ICC is expected to vote on the acquisition by July. – Chicago Tribune

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