Feel the chill from the north

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Psssst.

Those crazy Canucks are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. See, their great big utility company wants to buy our little bitty but by God all-American utility company. Like a goalie covering up a puck with his massive mitt, this is Hydro One Limited swallowing Avista Corp.

And did you hear the real kicker? Instead of natural gas, Hydro One wants to power North Idaho homes with Molson beer!

Readers, what you just read is an almost complete fabrication. The beer wonít be nearly as good as Molson.

OK, comedy hour is now over. Hydro One and Avista Corp. are indeed doing the merger dance, and the idea of a Canadian company guzzling an American one ó thatís an American one with 130,000 electricity customers and 82,000 natural gas consumers in North Idaho ó for some folks is kind of like swallowing warm, flat beer. That Hydro One is 47 percent owned by the government, and a left-leaning government at that!, makes this proposal perfectly unpalatable to some locals.

For perspective, realize that there just isnít much. When is the last time you recall a large, foreign-based utility agreeing to purchase the one that turns on your lights and keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer? That your comfort ó if not your very survival ó might depend upon?

The point here is to recognize the proposed merger as a complicated, possibly scary, potentially unprecedented move with impacts that will affect tens of thousands of local ratepayers.

A number of people have already studied the issue enough to express their support or fears without much research. Others have sounded off without doing any sort of due diligence. Thatís OK; both are acceptable in the time-tested court of public opinion.

The Press encourages customers to do their own research about the merger, including a search of stories published on cdapress.com and in the Canadian media. But please, tune out the fear-mongering and any antagonism thatís based solely on the fact that an American company is trying to chart a path forward with a foreign company. In itself, thatís no reason for opposition.

When youíre ready, submit your comments to: http://www.puc.idaho.gov/forms/casecomment.aspx

The case number is AVU-E-17-09 for electric; AVU-G-17-05 for natural gas. Every comment will be reviewed by Idaho Public Utilities Commission staff.

The proposed merger is very serious business, which is all the more reason for cool heads to prevail, eh?

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