Northeast-NStar merger will add jobs, not eliminate themNortheast Utilities and NStar will soon be merging to create one of the largest power utility companies in the United States, boasting a combined value of $17.5 billion.

Despite the behemoth that will result from the companies' merger, Michael Durand, a spokesman for the NStar, has sworn that its 20,000 customers on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard won't see a drastic increase on their electricity bills.

In addition, Durand added that the merger will not result in any layoffs. Rather, the increased capital will allow the companies to push forward with $9 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years.

"The merger is about growth, not about job elimination," Durand said, adding that the proposed infrastructure projects would create jobs, rather than destroy them.

The merger could also prove to be a boon for wind farms on the Massachusetts islands, although no promises have been made. Currently, state law requires that power utilities such as NStar and Northeast Utilities get 3 percent of their power from renewable energy sources, such as Cape Wind. However, NStar has not negotiated with Cape Wind for a while, Durand stated - although he added that the renewable energy represented by hydropower it imports from Quebec does not preclude the company from entering into an agreement with Cape Wind.

The NStar-Northeast merger is not the only utility merger in the works. Allentown, Pennsylvania-based PPL has agreed to buy Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities in April from its German parent company E.On for $7.6 billion, in a deal expected to be completed by the end of 2010.
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