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PacifiCorp to Sell California, Montana Utilities

July 10, 1998|Bloomberg News

PacifiCorp, a Portland, Ore.-based power company, is seeking to sell its two smallest electric utilities, in California and Montana, to focus on deregulation efforts in five other states where it operates. PacifiCorp said its Pacific Power utilities in California and Montana sell electricity to 76,000 customers, or about 5.5% of its 1.4 million customers. The planned divestiture comes as states determine how much, and how quickly, they'll open electric utility monopolies to competition. PacifiCorp said the wide differences in state deregulation efforts make it difficult for the company to keep up with the changes. California on March 31 began allowing residential customers to choose their electricity supplier. Montana began allowing businesses to choose a supplier this month and will give residential consumers a choice in 2002. PacifiCorp might itself be a target for takeover, analysts said, because it accumulated about $1.5 billion in cash in its failed bid to buy Britain's Energy Group. PacifiCorp shares rose 19 cents to close at $21.69 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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