Hydro One Acquires Avista Power

By: Laura Steiner

Hydro One has acquired Avista Power.  Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault announced the $6.7 billion deal July 19, 2017.  “Ontario is pleased to see today’s announcement of the proposed acquisition of Avista.”  He said in a statement.

Avista is a hydro utility operating in the northwestern United States headquartered in Spokane, Washington.  It serves 1.6 million people across 4 states.  Avista shareholders will receive $53 (USD)/ common share.

The Government of Ontario is the majority shareholder in Hydro One.  It’s not expected to raise rates.  “Neither will it have any impact on local jobs,” Thibeault said. The Wynne government has pledged to cut hydro rates by 24% beginning this month.

Avista power operates a coal-burning power plant in Montana.  Ontario has eliminated coal generated power plants.  Ministry Spokesperson Natasha Demetriades defends the purchase as a business decision in an email statement.  “One of the province’s objectives was to enable the leadership at Hydro One to drive efficiency and improved performance, delivering value for all Ontarians.  This acquisition supports this objective by allowing Hydro One to establish a solid platform for future growth.” Additional returns aren’t expected until 2019.

The province of Ontario is in the final stages of selling off its 60% stake in Hydro One.  It has raised $2.8 billion from its final offering.  The money is to be used for infrastructure projects.