- We Energies' merger plan with an Illinois energy company could have hit a snag, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal reports. Illinois regulators are investigating allegations of mismanagement by employees of Peoples Gas Light and Coke Co. regarding the company's accelerated natural gas main replacement program (AMRP).
- Peoples Gas is owned by Integrys Energy, which Wisconsin Energy has proposed to acquire for $9.1 billion.
- While state regulators say the investigation should not slow down their review of the merger, Wisconsin Energy officials have indicated they will be making changes to the AMRP should the merger be approved.
After two anonymous letters alleged mismanagement of the Peoples Gas' infrastructure program, the Illinois Commerce Commission ordered an investigation.
The letters, delivered to ICC attorneys in February and March, included charges that the ongoing management audit of the program, being conducted by Liberty Consulting, has been undermined by Peoples Gas’ management and the safety of the natural gas system may be compromised because of insufficient staffing on the program.
ICC staff recommended the commission investigate Peoples Gas’ work on the AMRP. The commission’s order provides for expanding the investigation to include any other allegations that may arise in the future, pertaining to the AMRP program.
"Noting the serious nature of the allegations and the timing in the merger case, the commission indicated it will handle the investigation in a thorough and expeditious manner," ICC said in a statement. A final audit report on the program will be filed this spring.
The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported that Wisconsin Energy told the ICC in a filing last week that if the merger goes forward it will install at least three senior leaders at Peoples Gas.