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Ark. regulators clear Empire/Algonquin merger

The Arkansas Public Service Commission on Sept. 28 approveda settlement that will allow Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. to Empire District Electric Co. in an all-cash deal valuedat $2.4 billion.

As part of the settlement agreement, the companies offeredcertain ratemaking assurances, including a 12-month rate moratorium and forAlgonquin subsidiary Liberty Utilities (Central) Co. to modify its current costallocation manual to reflect the deal.

The settlement agreement also prevents the companies frompassing the costs of the deal to ratepayers. Empire District serves customersin Benton County, Ark., in the far-northwestern corner of the state.  (Docket No. 16-013-U)

Following the Arkansas regulators' decision, the companiesonly need theapproval of the Kansas Corporation Commission to close the deal. Both companiesanticipate deal closure by the first quarter of 2017.

Empire and certain of Liberty Utilities Co.'s existing utilities will bereorganized under Liberty Utilities (Central), according to the testimony ofLiberty Utilities (Canada)Corp. President David Pasieka. Current Empire CEO Brad Beecher willassume the same role at Liberty Utilities (Central), which was created for thisdeal.