National Grid selling electric, gas service to Canada firm
Friday, June 1, 2012
National Grid, which provides natural gas in much of Greater Nashua as well as electric service in Pelham, Windham and Salem, has been sold to Liberty Utilities, which operates similar services in a half-dozen Midwestern and Western states.
Liberty is the U.S. subsidiary of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. of Canada, which said the deal is worth $285 million. The companies anticipate the sale will close by early July.
The sale will mean the third corporate name change for natural gas customers in Greater Nashua since 2000, when the region’s longtime service, EnergyNorth, was sold to Keyspan. In 2006, KeySpan was sold to National Grid, a global company based in Britain.
National Grid has 87,000 natural gas and 43,000 electric distribution customers in the state. It provides natural gas throughout the Merrimack River Valley, up to Concord and beyond, and handles gas and electricity distribution in much of eastern Massachusetts.
The sale of National Grid to Algonquin was first discussed in December 2010, but it has taken this long for federal and state approval to be granted.
Algonquin Power owns eight relatively small hydropower dams in New Hampshire, including the one in Mine Falls Park in Nashua. It sells the power to local utilities.
The sale was prompted by New Hampshire regulators’ decision in 2009 not to approve a natural gas rate hike, which led National Grid chief executive Steve Holliday to say in 2010 that the company wanted to leave New Hampshire, which makes up about 2 percent of the company’s sales.
Federal and state approval was granted based on both companies committing resources to support a “smooth transition of natural gas and electric service.”
“We appreciate the thorough review of the transaction by regulatory officials and parties to the proceedings in New Hampshire,” said Victor Del Vecchio, president of Liberty Utilities East.
Liberty Utilities has more than 122,500 customers in Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri and Texas.
David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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