During today’s meeting, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) had a major issue with Hydro One’s board and CEO resigning. One commissioner said it totally “altered the landscape.” Two commissioners said they do not see how they can make any decision on the merger without any leadership in place at Hydro One and with no witnesses to call. The Commission postponed the July 23 hearing until a new CEO and board are appointed. If none are appointed by August 15, 2018, the Commission will bring Avista in to give the Commission an update and will establish a new procedure and timeline for moving forward.
The IPUC also granted Idaho Department of Water Resources’ (IDWR) motion to intervene and noted that IDWR has a statutory right to participate and that the Commission is required to incorporate IDWR’s conditions into its ruling. Even so, the Commission noted that if IDWR feels that it needs to participate as an intervening party, it may do so, and granted the motion to intervene.
Response from our Attorney:
In response to the Idaho PUC’s decision today to cancel the July 23 hearing and indefinitely delay further consideration of the Hydro One/Avista merger application until after the new Hydro One board is in place:
We are encouraged by the Commission’s principled, deliberate approach to this very troubling merger proposal. It is not being rushed through, as Hydro One and Avista have previously requested.
It is yet to be seen whether Hydro One and Avista will be able to satisfy their burden in meeting the Idaho statute and showing that the merger will not result in future increases in costs and rates to Avista and its customers, or that the merger is otherwise in the public interest. To date, they have been unable to do so. It is doubtful that a new board, a new CEO and more time to prepare for the hearing are going to change that.
Attorney for Avista Customer Group