US utility Eversource Energy has reached an agreement with NiSource to purchase the Massachusetts natural gas assets of Columbia Gas for $1.1 billion.
Columbia Gas has 330,000 natural gas customers across 60 communities in Massachusetts, of which the majority are electric customers of Eversource Energy.
The acquisition will increase the number of natural gas customers of Eversource Energy in the region to 630,000.
For customers of Columbia Gas, the acquisition will benefit them through:
- Ownership by a larger and locally focused company with expertise and resources to excel at delivering safe and reliable energy for customers.
- Improved safety and reliability through additional investments in infrastructure upgrades.
- The advantage of locally based gas dispatch and emergency response in Massachusetts.
- Expanded opportunities to benefit from Eversource’s #1-in-the-nation energy efficiency programmes.
- Improved potential to participate in demand response and other clean energy initiatives that Eversource is undertaking.
- Potential for reduced gas supply costs and increased reliability through portfolio optimisation and management.
- A commitment to maintain appropriate staffing levels that enable safe and reliable operations.
- Strong financial profile with access to Eversource’s top tier credit ratings that help to lower financing costs for customers.
The transaction will require approval from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and the US Justice Department.
Eversource and Columbia Gas will engage with key regulatory stakeholders and consumer advocates over the next 30 days to review the investments needed to operate the system, to minimize rate impacts and review key benefits for customers.
The parties expect to close the transaction by the end of the third quarter of 2020.