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Judge Nixes Iberdrola Deal

PSC should kill Iberdrola deal, law judge says

The state Public Service Commission should reject the proposed takeover of Energy East Corp. by a big Spanish utility, an administrative law judge said today in a much-awaited recommendation.

Energy East is the parent of both Rochester Gas and Electric and New York State Electric and Gas.

The Department of Public Service law judge, Rafael Epstein, picked apart the proposed $4.5 billion deal between Iberdrola SA and Energy East, writing that the commission should disapprove the transaction “on the ground that it does not satisfy the ‘public-interest’ requirement of Public Service Law.”

But if the commission does approve the sale of Energy East, there are pre-conditions that should be met, he wrote.

They include forcing Iberdrola to sell its wind power plants in New York; to agree to $646 million in public-benefit adjustments; and to abide by safeguards and rate proceedings as proposed by the PSC staff.

Iberdrola officials had earlier said they would walk away from the deal, which has been approved by other affected states and the federal government, if New York demanded they sell their wind power farms.

Epstein's recommendation sets the stage for the parties in the case to respond - they have until July 1 to do so -- and then a vote by the PSC.

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