Shareholders of TECO Energy Inc. voted Dec. 4 to approve a proposed sale of the company to Emera Inc., based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The possibility of a potential sale was first made known by the locally owned company in September.
The sale still has to be approved by several federal regulatory agencies before it is set in stone, said TECO spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs.
To make sure there’s no monopoly or illegality taking place, all such sales must pass through a rigorous investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, and because the company proposing to buy is from out of the country, the sale plans will also be reviewed by a U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, Jacobs said.
“We also need to get approval from [the state of] New Mexico because we own a gas company there,” she added.
Three things Jacobs said she already knows are that if the current proposal goes through, the company will be sold for $10 billion, which includes its $3.9 billion debt; the rates will remain the same; and its name will not be changed.
“It will be business as usual,” Jacobs said.
When questioned about TECO’s recent commitment to a large 170-acre environmental project in Apollo Beach, partnered with the State of Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Aquarium, Jacobs said the plans in place are expected to be carried forward as previously announced and laid out in a story in The Observer News and The Current Dec. 10.
TECO’s Tampa Electric Company has already moved to sell off its coal business in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, and the Emera website states that the company plans to continue to divest those coal interests.
The Emera website shows interest in research and implementation of new technologies.
Tampa Electric Company’s roots go back 115 years, when the company first began as the manager of Tampa’s electric trolley system. It is one of Hillsborough County’s largest employers.
Emera reports that the combined company will have 2.4 million customers and $20 billion in combined assets, making it one of the 20 largest utilities in North America.
If the federal approvals go through, the deal should close by the middle of 2016 and affect more than one million TECO and Peoples Energy customers in Tampa Bay and other parts of Florida.