Public Policy Research Education and Advocacy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: David Hughes
April 7, 1997 412/421-6072
CITIZEN POWER WILL OPPOSE ALLEGHENY ENERGY- DUQUESNE LIGHT MERGER; ACQUIZITION WILL HURT COMPETITION
Pittsburgh, April 7—Consumer and environmental watchdog organization Citizen Power announced today that it will oppose the proposed merger between Allegheny Energy and Duquesne Light Company.
“Approving this merger would be a blow to the formation of a competitive retail electricity market in western Pennsylvania,” said David Hughes, Executive Director of Citizen Power. “We don’t need more competitors not less,” said Hughes.
Citizen Power will file its objections at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The case should last several months and a PUC decision is expected in about a year.
Citizen Power is concerned that utilities are merging to be able to maintain their control of electricity markets. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently ruled that the transmission grid must be open to all competitors, but has left the ownership of the lines in the hands of the utilities. “This will enable utilities to keep out competitors,” said Hughes. “So if the utilities keep merging, you’ll just have bigger areas of transmission control that competitors can’t get into,” Hughes said.
“This proposed merger may be good for the shareholders and top executives of the utilities, but it’s no bargain for the ratepayers, “ according to Mr. Hughes. “It sure looks like we’re simply heading from regulated monopolies to unregulated monopolies.”