VEC to buy part of Citizens’ Communications

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(Host) Five years after it emerged from bankruptcy, the Vermont Electric Cooperative now wants to buy the assets of another power company. The Johnson-based cooperative says it will pay $18 million for Citizens’ Communications’ Vermont Electric Division.

VEC Executive Manager Kelly Enright says that combining the two utilities should reduce operating costs and eliminate the need for rate increases over the next several years. Enright says the deal won’t result in any layoffs.

(Enright) “That is one of the big attractions, or the attractiveness of this deal, is that we are committed to retaining all of their employees. We feel if there are any reductions in force that it would come through normal retirement or attrition.”

(Host) Vermont Electric Cooperative has approximately 16,000 members. Citizens Communications serves about 21,000 customers in five northern counties. The sale will have to be approved by state utility regulators.

The deal represents a turning point for the electric cooperative. In the 1990s, it filed for bankruptcy. But it was able to reduce its debt and it emerged from bankruptcy in June 1998.

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