We represented Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) in a Maine PUC proceeding in which PSNH sought approval for its parent company, Eversource, to acquire a Connecticut water utility, Aquarion Water Company.
Verrill represented a Connecticut utility in addressing the need for certain regulatory approvals for its acquisition by a large international energy company.
Acquisition of Paper Mill
Verrill represented an energy developer in its proposed acquisition of the real estate and electric generation assets of a former paper mill. We provided advice on federal and state regulatory laws affecting the client's acquisition and proposed operations, including maintaining Qualifying Facility status and avoiding public utility status at both the state and federal levels.
Energy: Acquisition of LDC
Verrill assisted with an investment fund with due diligence in regard to potential acquisition of a local gas distribution company. The scope of work included analysis of state regulatory environment for gas utilities and the process for seeking regulatory approval of the potential acquisition.
Shareholder Class Action
Verrill participated in drafting the merger agreement and securing regulatory approval from the Maine PUC when Emera acquired Maine Public Service Company. We defended Maine Public in a shareholder class action suit in U.S. District Court resulting from the proposed merger.
T&D Utility Ownership Of Generation
We represented Emera in a lengthy case addressing the extent to which the Maine Restructuring Act prevents affiliates of a Maine T&D utility from acquiring ownership of generation facilities. In 2011, Emera sought approval of two acquisitions: (1) 25% ownership of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. and (2) a joint venture with First Wind to develop new wind projects in the Northeast. Represented Emera in extensive litigation before the Maine PUC and Maine Supreme Judicial Court both before and after Emera closed the transactions.
Change of Control of Emera Maine
Verrill represented Emera Maine, and its affiliates Chester SVC Partnership and Maine Electric Power Company (the “Utilities”), before the Maine PUC with respect to the Utilities’ request for Commission approval of the change of control of Emera Maine resulting from ENMAX Corporation’s (an Alberta, Canada utility) proposed acquisition of Emera Maine. The case involved many parties, with diverse interests; voluminous discovery; and application of a new “net benefits” legal standard to the Commission’s decision.
Emera's Acquisition of Swan's Island Electric Cooperative
Emera's 2017 acquisition of Swan's Island Electric Cooperative required a multi-disciplined team of Verrill energy lawyers to successfully close the transaction. Because the seller was a member based cooperative, the transaction was structured as an asset purchase, rather than a stock purchase. This required a determination that the Cooperative had marketable title to hundreds of easements, many of which had been acquired by the Cooperative decades earlier. Upon investigation, the parties identified that there were over 200 easements to be acquired or confirmed for Cooperative power lines crossing private property. Tony Calcagni worked with the Cooperative management team for approximately one year to remedy the problems and procure valid deeds to the power line easements.
The acquisition also raised a novel question of utility ratemaking. Because of the high cost of serving the islands, the Public Utilities Commission raised the issue as to whether island ratepayers should pay more than Emera's mainland rates for electricity. In a two to one decision, the Maine PUC rejected the acquisition, finding that charging mainland rates to island customers would result in an unreasonable subsidy of island customers. In response, Bill Harwood and Brian Marshall, renegotiated the terms of the acquisition by including a five-year monthly surcharge on island ratepayers, and were thereby able to convince the Public Utilities Commission to approve the acquisition.
Maine PUC Approval of Merger of Bangor Hydro and Maine Public
Verrill successfully obtained Maine PUC approval for the 2014 merger of Maine Public Service Company and Bangor Hydro Electric Company into a single corporation, Emera Maine.
In 2014, Emera proposed merging its two Maine operating utilities, Maine Public Service Company and Bangor Hydro-Electric Company into a single corporation, Emera Maine. The consolidation required extensive analysis and review of the respective rights and responsibilities of two major utilities, each with a long operating history of almost 100 years. The Verrill team, led by Bill Harwood and Nora Healy, carefully reviewed each utility's unique statutory rights, regulatory agency's approvals, waivers and exemptions, and contractual rights to be sure they survived the merger. After extensive discovery and hearings, the Verrill team succeeded in securing Maine PUC approval of the merger.