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June 13 (Reuters) - New York utility regulators on Thursday approved Canadian power company Fortis Inc's $1.5 billion purchase of CH Energy Group Inc, the parent of New York power company Central Hudson.
Fortis said in a statement it expects to close the acquisition shortly after receipt, review and acceptance of the New York Public Service Commission's official written order.
On Feb. 21, 2012, Fortis and CH Energy said Fortis would buy CH Energy for $65 per share in cash. The deal included the assumption of about $500 million of debt, Fortis said.
Central Hudson, the main business of CH Energy, is a regulated transmission and distribution utility serving about 300,000 electric and 75,000 natural gas customers in eight counties in New York.
Fortis said the acquisition will provide Central Hudson customers with nearly $50 million to moderate future delivery rates, enhance economic development programs and provide further assistance to low-income families.
Delivery rates will be frozen for an additional two years, effectively holding rates constant for the three-year period from July 2012 through June 2015, Fortis said.
All employees of Central Hudson will retain their jobs for at least four years.
Fortis, of Newfoundland and Labrador, owns hydropower generation in Canada, Belize and Upstate New York, electric utilities in five Canadian provinces and two Caribbean countries, and a natural gas utility in British Columbia.