The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has said it will postpone a decision for two months on whether to approve the proposed merger of Northern States Power Co. and Wisconsin Energy Corp. to form "Primergy."
The PUC may not decide the matter until as late as August. A sunset clause kicks in just three months after that time, which would allow the utilities to back out of the deal.
Possible reasons for the delay include allegations of improper contacts between Daniel Eastman, a commissioner with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and executives at Wisconsin Energy, allegedly including Richard Abdoo.
The Wisconsin PSC at the end of March had rejected a request by the Citizen's Utility Board to obtain more information concerning Eastman's personal telephone records. CUB has filed a similar request in Dane County Circuit Court. The other two commissioners, Cheryl L. Parrino and Joseph P. Mettner, said independent investigators already had access to the records and called for an end to CUB's interference. (On Feb. 7, they had referred the investigation to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office).
PSC members are not prohibited from meeting or speaking with utility executives, but are barred from discussing contested cases.
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