Alaska’s regulatory authority OKs Hydro One acquisition

Hydro One’s logo on a tower at its headquarters in Toronto on May 20, 2015. Hydro One says it’s Canada’s largest electricity transmission and distribution service provider. (Public domain photo by Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine)

One of Canada’s largest power companies is another step closer to acquiring electric utilities in the Pacific Northwest, including one in Juneau.

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The sale hinges on multiple states’ regulatory authorities granting approval. This week, Alaska became the first state to give the okay.

The Toronto-based power company, Hydro One, calls the decision a “milestone.” The company has spent the past year going through the process of trying to buy Avista, which is the parent company of the electric provider in Juneau.

But Hydro One will still need to get the go ahead from regulatory authorities in other states where the utility operates, like Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana.

If one of those states declines, the entire sale could fall through.

The Canadian acquisition of the utility has drawn some scrutiny.

In Juneau, there have been concerns over the prospect of a foreign company owning the hydroelectric dam that helps power the city, which was constructed by the U.S. federal government. Right now, the state of Alaska owns it.

One of the stipulations laid out between Avista and the City and Borough of Juneau is that things will essentially stay the same.

A spokesperson for Hydro One says — with all the states on board — it hopes to close the transaction by the end of the year.

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