The proposed merger between Utah Power & Light Co. and PacifiCorp is on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's agenda for Wednesday, a FERC spokeswoman said.
The commission will consider a draft recommendation on the merger and possibly vote on whether to accept that recommendation or not. The spokeswoman said the recommendation comes from the commission staff and its contents will not be made public until Wednesday.She also noted that the agenda can change at the last minute and the UP&L-PacifiCorp merger could be dropped from the schedule.
Rumors have circulated for weeks that the staff opinion favors the merger, overturning a previous ruling by an administrative law judge that recommended the commission not approve the merger.
Other rumors have two of the three commissioners still serving on the five-member panel supporting the staff recommendation. But a 2-1 vote won't stand in an appeals court, observers say. Opponents have vowed to appeal a FERC ruling in favoring the merger.
The merger, a $2 billion stock swap between the two companies, would create one a vast electric utilities in the West, serving more than 1 million customers in seven states. PacifiCorp, the Oregon-based parent of Pacific Power & Light, and UP&L claim the merger would result in substantial savings, translating into 5-10 percent rate cuts for UP&L customers.
But Judge George P. Lewnes said last June in his initial recommendation that the savings are suspect and the merger is not in the public interest.