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Aqua America gets regulatory nod to proceed with pending Peoples Gas deal

Aqua America Inc. and its subsidiaries on Jan. 16 got Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approval on a settlement related to the company's previously announced acquisition of gas distribution company PNG Cos. LLC.

The Pennsylvania commission green-lighted the approximately $4.28 billion deal with a 4-to-1 vote approving the companies' settlement petition, according to a Jan. 16 news release. The settlement includes commitments related to infrastructure replacement, rate credits and specific enhancements, among others details.

Under the deal, Aqua America plans to acquire Peoples Natural Gas Co. LLC, Peoples Gas Co. LLC and Delta Natural Gas Co. Inc. from infrastructure funds managed by investment firm SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners LP. In October 2019, an administrative law judge with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said that Aqua America would be fit to buy the gas utilities and urged the commission to issue all the approvals needed for the deal, which is expected to close in early 2020.

Aqua America provides water or wastewater services to roughly 3 million customers in the U.S. Peoples provides gas services to about 680,000 customers and serves as the largest gas distribution company in Pennsylvania.