Senate Democrats Urge Public Service Commission To Support $4.5 Billion Energy Acquisition Of Energy East

Kevin S. Parker

July 11, 2008

State Senate Energy Committee Ranking Members are concerned over Commission’s approach to purchase of Energy East by Iberdola S.A

(New York, NY) State Senate Democratic members Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) and Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan)  raised concerns that the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) recent stall of the planned acquisition of Energy East could prevent a lucrative investment opportunity for the state.

The Senators, both ranking members on two of the Senates energy oversight committees, noted that if Iberdola is successful in purchasing the Energy East, the parent company of two upstate New York power companies, they would subsequently invest more than $2 billion in wind power.

Senator Parker (committee) said that “with the volatility of fossil fuel costs and the State’s commitment to a green energy policy under Governor David Paterson, it is mind boggling that the Commission seems prepared to embrace the discredited market driven, Enron style policies of the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s.”

Energy East has stakes in investments within several states, which include New York. Preventing the deal to go through would ultimately risk losing millions of dollars in investment for the state.

Senator Perkins stated that with gas prices at an all-time high it is top priority to introduce alternative energy sources to New York State.

“We cannot afford to be behind any longer in the quest to develop alternative energy. States like California have begun to address renewable energy ownership and have seen benefits. Our reliance on foreign oil has strained our economy to the maximum and the state has begun to feel it to the point that next year we are looking at a deficit of billions of dollars.”

In 2000, California utilities experienced financial difficulties, leading to the bankruptcy of PG & E that took several years to come out of. Both Senators fear missing this opportunity could lead to similar circumstances.

Commission staff members are cautious of the deal due to the absence of guarantees that Energy East will not engage in anti-competitive practices.

Senator Parker concluded, “my colleague, Senator Perkins, and I look forward to leading our respective committees in the areas of energy and administrative regulation.  It is our fervent hope, that come January of 2009, we will not preside over a New York that has not squandered a golden energy opportunity in renewable electric generation.”