VERIFY: what does the Avista-Hydro One merger mean for customers?

KREM 2's Amanda Roley answers some of our viewers burning questions about the merger between Avista and Canadian power company. (7-20-17)

SPOKANE, Wash. – Canadian utility company Hydro One announced it is buying Avista for $5.3 billion in an all-cash deal Wednesday. After the announcement, viewers had questions about the Canadian company and what changes customers might see.

KREM 2 set out to verify what the merger means for you.

The most frequently asked question was will customer rates change? We can verify that rates will not increase. In a joint press release from Avista and Hydro One, the companies confirmed the merger will not impact customer rates.

Viewers also asked if it is even legal for a foreign company to own a U.S. utility company. Washington Utility and Transportation Commission Spokesperson Amanda Maxwell said there are no legal restrictions that keep a foreign company from owning a U.S. utility company. So we can verify that it is legal for this Canadian utility company to buy Avista.

What about Hydro One’s environmental track record? According to the merger press release, Hydro One is one of only four utility companies in Canada to achieve the “Sustainable Energy Company” designation from the Canadian Electrical Association. The company has also implemented several environmentally friendly programs. One of which includes the “Greener Choices” program which aims to reduce energy consumption and promotes waste reduction and recycling. So we can verify Hydro One is committed to taking care of the environment.

Another question we received about this Canadian company is if it will be a good community partner. We can verify that they will. Hydro One has already teamed up with a dozen community partners throughout Canada. On its website, Hydro One said it believes that giving back to the community is an important part of being a good corporate citizen. In the merger press release, Avista added that Hydro One plans to double Avista’s current levels of community support.

There were some questions KREM 2 was not able to verify yet, such as if there will be any equipment updates or if Avista will change its name. We will continue to try to verify these questions and let our viewers know what we found. 

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© 2017 KREM-TV


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