North Maine utility sold from one Canadian company to another
By ASSOCIATED PRESSGeneral Energy Emera energy Enmax Maine manufacturing utility
Utility serves 159,000 customers in the northern part of the state.
HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia-based owner of a Maine utility that serves many of the state’s rural and remote regions announced it has reached an agreement to sell its interest in the power company to another Canadian firm.
Emera Inc. and Enmax Corp. said in a joint statement that the agreement to sell Emera Maine to Enmax for $959 million is “definitive.” Enmax is headquartered in Calgary, and generates and sells power through its subsidiaries to customers in Alberta, where it serves more than 669,000.
Emera Maine is headquartered in Bangor and serves 159,000 customers in the state, while its parent company Emera Inc. is based in Halifax.
The sale of the Maine utility remains subject to regulatory approvals at the state and federal levels. Parties said they expect the deal to close late this year.
Winning state approval might not be automatic. Democratic Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, who is the House chair of the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, said it’s less than ideal for a company thousands of miles away to control Mainers’ power.
“It is time to stop allowing more and more distant control of a basic necessity: our power. Maine’s captive customers deserve better,” he said.
Emera Inc. president and chief executive officer Scott Balfour said in a statement that ENMAX was the right choice for a buyer because the company has “the technical skills, experience and financial strength to assure that our customers will continue to receive high quality, reliable service.” Emera Inc. first moved into Maine in 2001 with the purchase of Bangor Hydro and bought Maine Public Service Company in 2010 to form Emera Maine.
ENMAX pledged to maintain reliable service in Maine after the sale goes through.
“The acquisition of Emera Maine is a complementary opportunity for Enmax to grow our regulated utility business and enhance our connections with customers,” said Gianna Manes, president and CEO of Enmax, in a statement.
Emera Inc. had previously signalled that it wanted to sell assets that weren’t performing well and announced the sale of three gas-fired plants in New England in November.