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Canadian company buys Avista Corp. for $5.3 billion

July 20, 2017 GMT

SPOKANE, Wash. — Hydro One Limited of Toronto, Canada, has purchased Spokane-based Avista Corp. for $5.3 billion, creating one of North America’s largest regulated utilities.

The utility company serves more than 2 million customers in much of the northwest, including customers in Douglas County.

An Avista spokesman representing Oregon’s region declined to comment on the number of customers Avista serves in Douglas County or what the purchase could mean to local ratepayers.

In a news release, Avista CEO Scott Morris said, “For Avista, the decision to team up with Hydro One at a time of strength and growth represents a win for our customers, employees, shareholders and the communities we serve.”

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“This marks a proud moment for Canadian champions as we grow our business into a North American leader,” said Mayo Schmidt, president and CEO of Hydro One Limited.

Avista will maintain its existing corporate headquarters in Spokane and will continue to operate as a stand-alone utility in the five states. Its management team and employees will remain in place and it will operate with its own board of directors. The company serves customers in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Canada. The combined companies will have $25.4 billion in assets, according to a company press release.

The companies said in a joint announcement that power rates are not anticipated to change as part of the deal and customers are not expected to experience reductions to service.

Avista began operating in Spokane in 1889 as Washington Water Power Company. In 1999, it changed its name to Avista.

According to The Spokesman-Review, state and local officials were surprised by the news of the purchase and said they received the news at the same time as the general public.

“I want to make sure that our ratepayers are protected, and I will work hard to find out more about the deal,” State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, told the Washington-based newspaper Wednesday afternoon.

Until the sale is finalized, which is expected to happen sometime in the second half of 2018, both companies will continue to operate as two independent companies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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