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Northeast Utilities, NStar close nearly $20b merger

Northeast Utilities of Connecticut and Boston’s NStar announced Tuesday that they have completed their nearly $20 billion merger, a merger that creates one of the nation’s largest utilities.

Thomas J. May. Photo courtesy of Northeast Utilities.

The newly merged company will serve about 3.5 million electric and natural gas customers in three states and will continue to be called Northeast Utilities. NStar will become a Northeast Utilities subsidiary in Massachusetts.

With the closing, NStar chief executive Thomas J. May assumed the titles of president and chief executive of Northeast Utilities. Charles W. Shivery, who had been Northeast Utilities CEO, became chairman, Northeast Utilities said in a press release. The merged company will have dual headquarters in Hartford and Boston.

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Last week, Massachusetts regulators approved the merger, clearing the way for its completion following about a year and a half of reviews.

Shareholders had already approved the deal, and the state’s regulatory consent was the last hurdle the companies needed to get over before combining.

In February, the utilities made several concessions in exchange for support from Massachusetts energy officials and Attorney General Martha Coakley. As a result of those agreements, the utility promised to freeze rates for four years, saving consumers nearly $200 million, pay a one-time $21 million rebate, and buy power from the offshore Cape Wind project.

In its Wednesday press release, Northeast Utilities said that its customers will “share in the estimated $780 million merger savings produced over the next 10 years.’’

These long-term savings will come as a result of efficiencies achieved over time, primarily through process improvements, consolidation of systems, and drawing on best practices from both companies, Northeast Utilities said.

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