Maine Public Service Co. parent sale approved

Posted Dec. 16, 2010, at 3:09 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:43 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced Thursday that it has approved the sale of the company that owns Presque Isle-based Maine Public Service Co. to the parent company of Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., completing a deal that has been in the works for nearly six months.

In a deal valued at approximately $108 million, BHE Holdings Inc., the parent company of Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., has purchased Maine & Maritimes Corp., which owns Maine Public Service Co.

The FERC decision was the last that was needed to approve the transaction. The deal previously was approved by Maine & Maritimes shareholders in July and by the Maine Public Utilities Commission in September. The parties are expected to close the transaction on or about Dec. 21.

Officials said that the move will improve chances of building a power transmission line linking northern and southern Maine and bolster economic development in Aroostook County.

Maine Public Service Co. serves approximately 36,000 electricity customer accounts in northern Maine.

BHE Holdings, a subsidiary of Emera Inc. of Halifax, Nova Scotia, agreed to purchase Maine & Maritimes for $45 a share in cash. As part of the proposal, BHE would assume $31 million in debt now owed by Maine & Maritimes, according to Maine Public Service officials.

Bangor Hydro has about 115,000 customers in eastern and central Maine.

Officials from both companies said that both Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service Co. would continue to operate separately and serve their customers in their respective service territories. They also said that customers of both companies would see few changes as a result of the merger. Billing will remain the same and customers will receive the same level of service.

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