Following Strong Community Support at Public Hearings and Settlement in Maryland
On December 5, 2017, the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia begins nine days of evidentiary hearings in the proposed combination of AltaGas Ltd. and WGL Holdings, Inc. Over the course of the hearings, the two leading energy companies will demonstrate how AltaGas will bring an excellent track record of strong financial and operational performance to Washington, D.C.; how together, the companies will be even better positioned to deliver more diverse energy solutions to customers; and how customers and communities will benefit from an array of new investments and commitments.
The PSC proceedings follow four days of community hearings that were held across the District from November 27-30, 2017, where more than 80 percent of the residents, business owners, nonprofit and community leaders who testified spoke positively about the combination.
The beginning of the hearings also follows the December 4, 2017 announcement by AltaGas and WGL that the companies have reached a settlement agreement with the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and the Laborers’ International Union of North America, its affiliated District Council, and Local Unions serving or located in Washington D.C. (collectively, LiUNA) on key terms for the merger of the two companies currently before the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). If approved by the Maryland PSC, the settlement could result in an additional $21.4 million in benefits for the District of Columbia as AltaGas has committed to provide most favored nation status to the District of Columbia, which ensures the District receives benefits at least as generous as those provided to other jurisdictions.
Since submitting a merger application on April 24, 2017, the companies have filed extensive testimony with the Commission to demonstrate the benefits of combining the two companies. In addition, the companies have responded to thousands of data requests from the PSC and intervenors in the case.
In testimony filed with the D.C. Public Service Commission, AltaGas President and Chief Executive Officer David Harris said:
“We believe the Merger will combine two companies with complementary expertise and skill sets and similar social values characterized by a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to their customers and communities. Both AltaGas and WGL are successful at operating sound utility systems and delivering safe and reliable service to their customers at affordable rates.”
“Both companies believe that a combination of natural gas, renewable technologies, energy storage, and energy efficiency will drive the advanced energy economy, and AltaGas and WGL bring complementary strengths to the table that will strategically position the combined company for that future, creating new opportunities to deliver customer-benefitting infrastructure and technologies and improve workforce development. While AltaGas is already a strong and substantially U.S.-oriented company, we believe that WGL and the Greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area will be the U.S. platform from which the combined company will drive our future growth.”
WGL Holdings, Chairman and CEO Terry McCallister continued in his testimony:
“[The combination] will result in direct benefits to customers and to the local and regional economy. It will ensure Washington Gas remains focused on safety, reliability, efficiency and customer service, and it will be led by local management. WGL and its stakeholders, through the Merger, will be gaining a partner in serving customers and growing our businesses and the regional economy. The Merger will further the public interest both in the short term and in the long term.”
AltaGas and WGL Holdings are confident of the benefits of this proposed combination, as they are built upon the strong foundation of providing value for Washington Gas customers. The combined company will be in an even stronger position to deliver exceptional service at affordable rates, more investment in the community and workforce training programs, as well as good secure jobs. The combination will better position Washington Gas to deliver more clean energy options to customers and the community in the future. Following regulatory approval, there will be no rate increase as a result of the combination.
Below are some of the ways in which D.C. customers will benefit from the combination:
- One-time rate credit for all District of Columbia customers totaling $12.25 million — $50 for each residential heating customer.
- $2.2 million to install energy efficiency improvements in homes of low-income qualified residential customers.
- $1.5 million to help pay gas bills for Washington Gas low- and moderate-income customers, with at least $260,000 dedicated solely to D.C. customers.
- $1.2 million in charitable contributions and local community support per year in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area over the next 10 years, with at least $210,000 in contributions annually to organizations serving D.C. residents.
- $700,000 to support workforce development and training programs to promote training and job creation in the energy sector.
- $2.0 million for an affordable multi-family housing natural gas initiative.
- $2.75 million for a new public safety program.
- Increase Washington Gas’ supplier diversity commitments over the next 10 years from our current achievement of 25 to 35 percent and publish an annual report on progress to achieving that goal.
- Fund a $450,000 renewable bio natural gas study within one year of the combination.
- Invest $7.8 million for a 5 MW Electric Grid Energy Storage or Tier 1 Renewable Resources in the District.
Status of Federal Regulatory Review Process
All required federal approvals are complete, including:
- Approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), on July 6, 2017, an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, electricity and oil;
- Expiration of the waiting period as of July 17, 2017, pursuant to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act), when the combination was deemed approved by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice and;
- Approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on July 28, 2017.
Combination Approved in Virginia
The Virginia State Corporation Commission completed its review of the merger application and approved the proposed combination on October 20, 2017.
For additional resources and background on the combination, visit http://www.wgldeliveringmore.com/
AltaGas (TSX:ALA) is an energy infrastructure company with a focus on natural gas, power and regulated utilities. AltaGas creates value by acquiring, growing and optimizing its energy infrastructure, including a focus on clean energy sources. For more information visit: www.altagas.ca
About Washington Gas
Washington Gas Light Company is a regulated natural gas utility providing safe, reliable natural gas service to more than 1.1 million customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. A subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc., the company has been providing energy to residential, commercial and industrial customers for 169 years.
WGL (NYSE: WGL), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a leading source for clean, efficient and diverse energy solutions. With activities and assets across the U.S., WGL consists of Washington Gas, WGL Energy, WGL Midstream and Hampshire Gas. WGL provides options for natural gas, electricity, green power and energy services, including generation, storage, transportation, distribution, supply and efficiency. Our calling as a company is to make energy surprisingly easy for our employees, our community and all our customers. Whether you are a homeowner or renter, small business or multinational corporation, state and local or federal agency, WGL is here to provide Energy Answers. Ask Us. For more information, visit us at www.wgl.com.