City to evaluate impact of Wisconsin Energy’s acquisition plan

The Milwaukee Common Council has adopted a resolution directing various city departments to evaluate and report on the economic impact to the city of Wisconsin Energy Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Integrys Energy Group so the city can determine whether or not to oppose the transaction.

Authored by Alderman Robert Bauman, chair of the Council’s Public Works Committee, the resolution directs the Department of Administration-Budget and Management Division and the Office of Environmental Sustainability, in conjunction with the City Attorney’s Office and the Department of Public Works, to evaluate and report on the economic impact of the proposed Integrys acquisition.

On June 23, the parent company of Milwaukee-based We Energies announced that it has agreed to buy Integrys Energy Group, the Chicago-based parent company of Green Bay-based utility Wisconsin Public Service Corp. If approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, as well as anti-trust regulators and the shareholders of We Energies and Integrys, the transaction could be approved by summer 2015.

Bauman, whose district includes the downtown headquarters of We Energies, said the utility has been mum about whether it will move its headquarters out of downtown Milwaukee if the acquisition is approved.

“Very simply it is in the best interest of the City of Milwaukee that the impact of the proposed acquisition be evaluated, including its effects on the city, energy customers, utility rates and possible job and employment impacts,” he said.

If approved, the combined company would be the eighth-largest natural gas distribution company in America, with customers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota, nearly 71,000 miles of electric distribution lines and more than 44,000 miles of gas transmission and distribution lines.

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