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New York and Iberdrola battle over merger  

New York state’s environmental and economic development agencies support Iberdrola.

The Spanish company proposed a $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp., The Albany Times Union reported.

While the two agencies are in favor of the merger, the Public Service Commission is against it.

Energy East serves about 1.2 million people in upstate New York through subsidiaries New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric.

Iberdrola first pitched the merger to the PSC in August, seeking approval within six months, but the deal has met opposition from the PSC staff, which wants Iberdrola to reduce rates and sell the wind-farm projects and power plants it would acquire. It fears Iberdrola would hold a monopoly on wind power in the state.

Hearings have been postponed because of rumors that Iberdrola may soon be bought out by a French utility.

“We would like to suggest that the PSC not automatically foreclose Iberdrola’s development and ownership of wind energy holdings in New York state and that it find a way to work with Iberdrola in encouraging more wind energy projects,” said J. Jared Snyder, an assistant commissioner at the DEC.

United Press International

15 February 2008

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