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Iberdrola hearing sparsely attended

BINGHAMTON – About 20 people attended Tuesday’s public hearing at the State Office Building to discuss Iberdrola’s plan to acquire New York State Electric & Gas parent Energy East.

Few provided testimony at the event – one of several New York State Public Service Commission hearings to be held in NYSEG and Rochester Gas and Electric service territories across the state.

Some said they were against the proposed $4.5 billion acquisition because they do not want to see a foreign company take over Energy East. Iberdrola is based in Spain.

Dave Culbertson, president of National Pipe & Plastics in Vestal, said he welcomed Iberdrola’s entry into New York because of its planned investment in upstate, a region “desperately in need of economic revival.”

Iberdrola has said it plans to launch renewable energy projects, including wind power, in areas in need of economic development in New York.

Iberdrola and Energy East have said the deal also would have other major customer benefits, but the state Department of Public Services has questioned that assessment. Public Service Department staff said the transaction would not, without modification, benefit customers economically.

The acquisition is awaiting its final remaining state approval from the PSC. The deal would close in the first half of this year.

Those who were unable to attend Tuesday’s public hearing also may provide their comments to the PSC by writing to Secretary Jaclyn A. Brilling at 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, N.Y. 12223-1350 (refer to “Case 07-M-0906 – Iberdrola Merger”).

Consumers also may call the PSC’s opinion line at 800-335-2120 (press “1”) or fill out a PSC Comment Form in the Consumer Assistance file on the PSC’s Web site, at www.dps.state.ny.us.

The deadline to submit comments is March 31.

By My-Ly Nguyen
Press & Sun-Bulletin


20 February 2008