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Northeast/ConEd Merger Opposed

March 7, 2001

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Attorney General Richard Blumenthal asked state regulators Wednesday to rescind their approval of the collapsing merger between Northeast Utilities and Consolidated Edison Inc.

The deal dissolved Monday into acrimony and allegations of bad faith. Northeast said Monday it considered the deal dead and said it would sue ConEd for failing to abide by the terms of the agreement. ConEd sued Northeast in federal court on Tuesday, claiming the company mismanaged a subsidiary and exposed itself to unacceptable financial risk.

Blumenthal, who has opposed the merger all along, acknowledged Wednesday that the agreement appeared doomed. But he said the state Department of Public Utility Control should not allow its approval of the merger plan to linger.

``The DPUC needs to burn that blank check and eliminate the risk of ConEd cashing it,″ Blumenthal said.

Beryl Lyons, a spokeswoman for the utility control agency, said it had no comment on Blumenthal’s request. The decision has been appealed to Superior Court and the agency is awaiting the outcome of that process, she said.

Both utilities also declined to comment.

Northeast, based in Berlin, operates the Connecticut Light & Power Co., Western Massachusetts Electric Co., Public Service Company of New Hampshire and Yankee Energy Systems, a natural gas distributor.

ConEd operates Consolidated Edison Company of New York, an electric, gas and steam utility that serves New York City and its suburbs. The company also owns Orange & Rockland Utilities Inc., serving Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

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