NorthWestern hydropower projects acquisition proposal clears FTC

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NorthWestern Energy has received Federal Trade Commission approval for its proposed purchase of 11 hydropower projects and related assets from PPL Montana, LLC.

The Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust approval satisfies a key condition in the purchase-sale agreement, though the proposal still requires the approval of the Montana Public Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We’ve passed a major milestone at the federal level,” NorthWestern Energy vice president John Hines said. “Review by the Montana Public Service Commission, including the support the transaction is receiving at listening sessions the Commission is holding around Montana, is now key to allowing us to dedicate these great assets to serve our Montana customers at prices based on the cost of providing power, not the western power market.”

HydroWorld.com reported in January that NorthWestern Energy had submitted a formal request for the US$900 million deal to the Montana Public Service Commission.

Included in the US$900 million acquisition are the Thompson Falls Dam on the Clark Fork River; Kerr Dam on the Flathead River; Madison Dam on the Madison River; Hauser, Holter, Black Eagle, Rainbow, Cochrane, Ryan and Morony dams along the Missouri River; and Mystic Lake Dam on West Rosebud Creek.

NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) said the filing outlines various long-term customer benefits, while also confirming commitments to proceed with the transfer of Kerr Dam to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

The projects have a combined output capacity of about 633 MW.

NorthWestern Energy said the commission is now soliciting feedback on the proposal and will hold a formal hearing on it in July. A decision is expected by September 2014.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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