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The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources is asking state public utility regulators to raise the standard for approving a proposed merger between Boston’s NStar and Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities by requiring the proposed combination to advance the state’s alternative energy goals.
The utilities unveiled the proposed merger in October, saying the consolidation would create a $17.5 billion energy company better positioned to bargain for cheaper sources of electricity and natural gas. The merger is being reviewed by the state Department of Public Utilities, which scrutinizes such deals to make sure they cause “no net harm’’ to the public.
But given increased attention to environmental issues, increasing energy prices, and the economy, energy resources officials said in a recent filing that utility regulators should require the proposed merger to result in a “substantial net benefit’’ for customers, and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar.
“We should look at the goals of the state and the environment and make sure that this advances the public cause,’’ said Phil Giudice, commissioner of the energy resources department.
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