The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the proposed merger of Midwest Power Systems, Inc. and Iowa-Illinois Gas and Electric Co. to form MidAmerican Energy Co. as consistent with the public interest (Docket No. EC95-4-000).
The City of Independence, MO, asked the FERC to condition the merger on MidAmerican providing some form of protection against merger-related rate increases, but the FERC found no evidence that costs would increase as a result of the merger. Further, the city itself admitted that the energy charge would likely decrease after the merger, and that its contract allows it to purchase power elsewhere.
Regarding the merger's effect on competition, the FERC found the open-access tariffs adequate to mitigate any concern over control of transmission facilities and MidAmerican's resulting ability to block buyers and sellers from access to competing trading partners. The FERC rejected requests for an environmental assessment, finding no "extraordinary circumstances." Commissioners William L. Massey and James J. Hoecker expressed concern over the future of the FERC's merger policy. They noted that perhaps the "consistent with the public interest" standard is unclear and archaic. t
Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.
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