U.S. Water News Online
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Attorney General Darrell McGraw's
office is investigating a possible intervention in Thames Water's
buyout of West Virginia-American Water Co.
The state Public Service Commission has been weighing the British
company's buyout for 10 months, and has already placed certain
restrictions on the sale: No rate hikes until January 2004. No
layoffs until April 2004. Corporate offices must stay in West
``The PSC could issue a decision any day,'' said Managing Deputy
Attorney General D.L. Hamilton. ``Time is of the essence.''
Thames is a subsidiary of RWE Aktiengesellschaft, based in Essen,
Germany, which has offered to pay $4.6 billion in cash, or $46 per
share, to acquire West Virginia-American's parent company, American
Water Works, based in Voorhees, N.J.
RWE took over Thames Water in 2000, and now wants to make American
Water Works, the largest publicly traded U.S. water company, a
subsidiary of Thames.
West Virginia-American serves 500,000 customers in 15 West
The attorney general started looking into Thames Water after
questions about the company's environmental record in Britain were
raised earlier this month, Hamilton said.
The attorney general's office is looking at international trade
treaties that may have jurisdiction over the deal and user rights vs.
common-law riparian rights, Hamilton said.
``We don't want anyone to get control over West Virginia's
water,'' she said.
In Kentucky, the Public Service Commission is reconsidering its
May decision to approve the sale because it wasn't aware the company
created Thames Water Aqua Holdings U.S. to hold all the stock.
The Kentucky PSC also is studying the qualifications of Thames
Water U.S., and whether it is in the public interest to let
Kentucky-American Water Co. sell.
``We are in communication with them regarding that issue,''
The Kentucky attorney general, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County
Government and Bluegrass FLOW -- a citizens' group headed by former
Kentucky Gov. Ned Breathitt -- have all filed lawsuits in circuit
court to stop the sale.
Return to the
U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.