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The Evolving Public Interest—Recent Decisions in Utility Merger Proceedings

In December 2008, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) approved the acquisition by a group of long-term infrastructure investors, known as Puget Holdings LLC, of Puget Energy, Inc. and its wholly owned utility subsidiary, Puget Sound Energy Inc. (PSE).1 In approving the transaction, the WUTC determined that the appropriate standard under the state statutory requirement that any approved transaction be “consistent with the public interest” was the so-called “no harm” standard.2 This standard required that the applicants before the WUTC show that the terms of the transaction not harm the public interest.