N.H. commission stops Nashua from taking two Pennichuck water utilities

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has ruled that the city of Nashua has no authority under the state eminent domain law to take any of the assets of two Pennichuck Corp. water utilities. City has no authority under the state eminent domain law to take any of the assets of the company's two water systems...

MERRIMACK, NH, Dec. 8, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has ruled that the city of Nashua has no authority under the state eminent domain law to take any of the assets of two Pennichuck Corp. water utilities.

The ruling supports Pennichuck's long held position that Pennichuck East Utility Inc. (PEU) and Pittsfield Aqueduct Company Inc. (PAC) should not be subject to a hostile takeover by Nashua because they are separate legal entities with assets and service territories outside of Nashua borders.

Donald L. Correll, Pennichuck president and chief executive officer, said the PUC ruling raises serious questions about Nashua's argument that it is for "the public good" to take any of the water systems operated by Pennichuck's water utilities.

"The PUC ruling supports the position we took more than a year ago when we offered to have discussions with Nashua about its interests. Unfortunately for Nashua taxpayers, city officials instead chose to spend large amounts of time and money in pursuit of a flawed strategy to liquidate our all our water utility business.

"Now that the PUC has ruled in our favor, Nashua faces having to spend more time and money to change its strategy, and trying to prove to the PUC why it's now in the public interest to take only the Pennichuck assets that serve Nashua," Correll said.

"We are pleased with today's decision in that it narrows the parameters of the proceeding. Unfortunately, the company and the residents of Nashua may need to endure this legal process for another two years," Correll said.

Pennichuck Corp. is a holding company located in Nashua, N.H., with three wholly owned operating subsidiaries involved in regulated water supply and distribution in Nashua and towns throughout southern and central New Hampshire; non-regulated, water-related services conducted through Pennichuck Water Service Company; and real estate management and development activities conducted through The Southwood Corp.

###

More in Asset Management