In a stunning turn of events, regulators at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) rejected the proposed merger between Canada-based Hydro One Ltd. and Avista Corp. In their statement announcing the decision, the state commission cited “political considerations” possibly affecting both companies’ “business operations and financial integrity”, and therefore not in the public interest, according to them.
Hydro One’s board of directors have gone through a complete turnover in members, triggered by Ontario Premier Doug Ford as part of fulfilling a key campaign plank in his successful run to be the chief executive of Canada’s second largest province. Ford public denied any responsibility for the UTC’s decision, defending his shake-up of Hydro One. In a joint statement, both companies said they were “extremely disappointed” with the rejection, stating that they will review the ruling before taking further action on the proposed – and likely dead in the water – deal.