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There Will Be a Recommended Decision In A Proposed Utility Merger

Christopher Sessums, flickr

An extended public comment period closes this week for a proposed utility merger. This comes as administrative law judges say they will issue a recommended decision to the Public Service Commission concerning the proposed merger.

There is no timeline for the issuance of the recommended decision, and a Public Service Commission spokesman says the PSC has no deadline for its decision either. The decision will be on the proposed merger of Poughkeepsie-based CH Energy Group and Canadian energy company Fortis, Inc. CH Energy Group is the parent of Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation. The PSC spokesman says the issuance of a recommended decision is another way for the PSC to receive public comments. Democratic State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill says he’s encouraged by the news.

He explains that a recommended decision allows groups and individuals to write their own briefs arguing either for or against the recommended decision. He says it also gives insight into the thought process leading to the decision rather than just the decision itself. Dan Duthie also commends the announcement of an upcoming recommended decision.

Duthie, a utilities attorney who is advising opponents to the merger - grassroots group Citizens for Local Power and a municipal consortium along with non-governmental - is also pressing for evidentiary hearings.

Central Hudson Spokesman John Maserjian says the deal includes generous financial benefits and the continuance of programs to support energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The public comment period, which was extended for 30 days, closes Wednesday, May 1. Dan Duthie says he appreciates the inclusive and transparent way the PSC is handling the case.

But he says he has one hope for the outcome.

For Assemblyman Cahill:

Central Hudson’s Maserjian insists the region’s utility will look the same under Fortis.

Central Hudson has posted merger facts at centralhudson.com.

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