Utilities Sector Review: Northeast and NSTAR Agreements, Duke Energy

Northeast Utilities (NYSE:NU): NSTAR (NYSE:NST) and Northeast Utilities (NYSE:NU) confirmed that they have reached separate, comprehensive merger-related agreements with both the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the Massachusetts Attorney General that will guarantee substantial customer and environmental benefits, while allowing the utilities’ merger to proceed. The settlement agreements both call for a one-time $21M rate credit to be directed to customers of NSTAR Electric, NSTAR Gas and Western Massachusetts Electric Company. Base distribution rates for the utilities would then be frozen until 2016. In addition, under the agreement with the DOER, the utilities pledge further environmental commitments to solar, wind, hydro, energy efficiency and electric vehicle development.

The shares closed at $35.52, up $0.62, or 1.78%, on the day. Its market capitalization is $6.29 billion.

El Paso Corp (NYSE:EP): The New York Post has learned that Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMP) will look to sell El Paso’s (NYSE:EP) exploration and production assets in pieces rather than as a whole. Kinder had been in talks to sell nearly $7B in El Paso assets to Apollo (NASDAQ:APO) and Riverstone Holdings, but is now exploring breaking up the assets and looking for multiple buyers in a move to fetch up to $8B, a source says. Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) may be interested in the Texas-based assets, the source adds.

The shares closed at $27.19, on the day. Its market capitalization is $20.97 billion.

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