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NW Natural to enter water utility business with 2 Ore., Idaho acquisitions

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NW Natural to enter water utility business with 2 Ore., Idaho acquisitions

Northwest Natural Gas Co., which does business as NW Natural, agreed to acquire two privately owned water utilities in Oregon and Idaho, the gas utility's first foray into the regulated water utility sector.

Salmon Valley Water Co., based in Welches, Ore., provides service to about 975 customers. Falls Water Co. is based in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and serves about 5,500 customers. Both companies would still operate as stand-alone subsidiaries of NW Natural, according to a Dec. 21 news release.

"The water utility sector has a risk profile and business model that is similar to our core gas utility," President and CEO of NW Natural David Anderson said. "There are also substantial investment opportunities over the long term, as water infrastructure needs to be replaced and upgraded to serve growing communities with safe, clean drinking water."

The deal is scheduled to close in 2018, subject to approvals from Idaho and Oregon regulators, among other conditions.

NW Natural supplies natural gas to over 730,000 customers in western Oregon and southwestern Washington.