Maine Water Co., which serves 21 Maine towns, has withdrawn an application before the Maine Public Utilities Commission to consider the merger of its parent, Connecticut Water, with California water company SJW Group. The withdrawal was made to make it easier to align the regulations across Maine and Connecticut. Credit: Pixabay

Maine Water Co. on Wednesday withdrew its application before the Maine Public Utilities Commission in an effort to make it easier for its parent company to merge with a California water company.

Maine Water, which serves 80,000 residents in 21 Maine towns from Biddeford to Millinocket, is owned by Connecticut Water Service, which has an agreement to merge with water company SJW Group of San Jose, California.

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The proposed $1.1 billion merger ran into a bump in early December 2018, when Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority blocked the deal out of concern that it didn’t benefit the public enough. It also questioned whether the merger would harm Connecticut Water financially.

Wednesday’s move by Maine Water was meant to align the regulatory approaches the companies take in Maine and Connecticut, according to SWJ and Connecticut Water. The two companies said they also might submit a new application for the merger to the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

“The companies continue to believe the combination is in the public interest, with the potential to provide important and unique benefits for customers, communities and the Maine Water employees who serve those communities,” Maine Water’s President Richard Knowlton said in a statement.

“We expect the merger can create efficiencies, generate savings and bring best practices that will benefit the customers and communities the companies serve,” he said.