Wisc. consumers groups wary of We Energies bid to acquire Integrys

Dive Brief:

  • Wisconsin has revised its review schedule of We Energies' $9.1 billion bid to acquire Integrys Energy Group, taking time to incorporate news of a settlement that allows the deal to move forward in Michigan.
  • The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel also reported consumer groups in the state are worried the deal does not benefit ratepayers quickly enough, with real savings not showing up for five years or more.
  • We Energies has agreed to a series of measures aimed at solving a power crisis on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, allowing the deal to move forward in that state, but consumer watchdogs in Wisconsin say the arrangement means they need more time to assess the deal. 

Dive Insight:

Wisconsin Energy Corp. and Integrys Energy Group have agreed to a revised review schedule before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, after consumer groups said they needed more time to incorporate news of the Michigan deal into their own assessments.

"The evidence requiring examination includes the likely impacts on utility consumers and the public
of several new agreements in Michigan," said a group of consumers including the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin. The "Michigan Agreements are a significant new development affecting this proceeding."

"Indeed, the state of Michigan has expressly tied the agreements to its own regulatory review of WEC’s proposed acquisition of Integrys," the groups said.

Consumer concern goes beyond the new Michigan arrangement, however. Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports that while consumers will see 3% to 5% in savings in the next decade, that's not fast enough for some ratepayer advocates.

"It's clear that the acquisition is not in the best interests of customers right now, and that significant changes are needed to correct that," Kira Loehr, executive director of the Citizens' Utility Board, told the newspaper.

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Filed Under: Generation Corporate News
Top image credit: Flickr; Walter