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Regulators approve sale of Emera Maine to Canadian company

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Regulators approved the $1.3 billion sale of a Maine electric utility Tuesday to a Canadian company.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve the acquisition of Emera Maine by ENMAX Corp. after rejecting a proposal to finalize an earlier version on March 5.

The acquisition of the utility that serves 160,000 homes and businesses across eastern and northern Maine is expected to close within the next week.

The deal was reached among the Alberta-based company, the state's Office of Public Advocate and other parties.

It includes an extension to how long the utility must wait before it can raise customer rates, an increase in rate credits for customers, setting up required service quality measures as well as tougher restrictions on dividends paid to shareholders.

“ENMAX has made a significant, long term commitment to Emera Maine’s customers, employees and Maine communities,” Gianna Manes, ENMAX president and CEO, said in a statement. “With this approval, we are looking forward to a smooth transition of ownership.”

Emera Maine would be ENMAX's first acquisition outside of western Canada and the first to occur since Maine changed its rules governing the sale of utilities last year.

A union representing Emera Maine workers expressed concerns in September about the possibilities of cuts to the company's workforce if the sale was finalized.

But ENMAX assured there would be no job cuts or rate increases.