Merger commitments benefiting customers, community

In December 2015, Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) approved the merger between Iberdrola USA and UIL Holdings Company. The new merged company is now named AVANGRID (NYSE: AGR). As part of the merger agreement, a number of commitments by the company were made regarding its operations in Connecticut.

The information below shows the 12 major merger commitments and the status of each individually. AVANGRID has completed several of the commitments and made significant progress on others.  

RATE CREDITS: $20 million rate credit in aggregate to the customers of The United Illuminating Company, Southern Connecticut Gas Company, Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation; $12.5 million and $7.5 million in additional rate credits to CNG and SCG respectively, over the period of 2018-2027. STATUS: $20 million credit completed.
BASE RATE FREEZES: Assurance of rate stability through distribution base rate freezes for UI until January 1, 2017, and for CNG and SCG until January 1, 2018. STATUS: Completed
CLEAN ENERGY: $2 million per year for a three-year period in funding for DEEP to stimulate investment in clean energy. STATUS: Completed; payment to be issued 2016.
JOBS: A commitment to hire 150 people in Connecticut over the next three years. STATUS: Underway. Approximately 45 new workers hired as of March 31.
ENGLISH STATION: UI is committed to spending $30 million to investigate and remediate certain environmental conditions of the closed English Station power plant in New Haven. STATUS: Underway. This week, AVANGRID will issue a request for proposal for a Licensed Environmental Professional (LEP) firm, which will evaluate the site. The state of Connecticut is negotiating with the current owners of the site on when AVANGRID can gain access to the site and begin work. Work conducted by the LEP will be among the earliest project tasks.
PIPE REPLACEMENT: $1.6 million in

savings for customers of SCG resulting from accelerating the replacement of cast iron and bare steel pipe over the next three years, without seeking recovery until the next SCG rate case.

STATUS: Underway
STORM RESILIENCY: A commitment to an estimated UI customer benefit of $5 million associated with limited rate recovery for $50 million of distribution storm resiliency investment at UI. STATUS: In compliance
DISASTER RELIEF: $1 million for disaster relief needs for Connecticut residents. STATUS: Pending, payment scheduled to be made when CT Care Foundation established this summer.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: Commitments to improve customer service quality. STATUS: Underway. UI/SCG/CNG is making enhancements to improve efficiency and productivity, such as a new workforce management system that tracks customer appointments.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Commitment to maintain charitable giving at $500,000 to $800,000 per year for four years. STATUS: Underway, $222,778.78 contributed to nonprofits year-to-date.
LOCAL CONTROL, JOB PROTECTION: Long-term commitments to maintain corporate headquarters and operations in Connecticut and no layoffs for three years. STATUS: In compliance. AVANGRID headquarters maintained in Connecticut.
LOCAL PROTECTION: A commitment to “ring fencing” measures to protect financial condition of UI/SCG/CNG from potential changes in the financial conditions of the former Iberdrola USA (now Avangrid Networks) and Iberdrola. STATUS: In compliance. On April 29, AVANGRID created a tax neutral Special Purpose Entity (SPE) that is a direct, wholly-owned subsidiary of Avangrid Networks.

“We felt it was particularly important to inform the public of our progress on these commitments and demonstrate the value that we’ve always believed this transaction would bring to the State of Connecticut,” said James P. Torgerson, AVANGRID’s CEO.