Today, market and regulatory pressure for infrastructure modernization and environmental compliance are pushing utilities to seek partners with financial strength, stability and investment capability now more than ever. The current economic and regulatory environment poses regulatory approval ambiguity and increased challenges for utilities such as navigating through contradictory objectives of their public utility commissions and other state officials. As a result, utilities have to adapt or develop new regulatory strategies and integration planning approaches.
Utility mergers are back, and in a big way. Utility merger and acquisition activity picked up in 2010, and has further accelerated in 2011. However, the utility M&A landscape is very different today than the prior two waves of consolidation in 1999-2000 and 2005-2007.