TECO Energy and Tampa’s hometown electric utility as well as the largest natural gas providers we own in Florida and New Mexico now have a lot more energy behind them – and it comes from Emera Inc. After all of the regulatory and shareholder approvals and financing requirements were met, TECO Energy was acquired by Emera on July 1.
On Sept. 4, 2015, TECO Energy and Emera finalized an agreement to acquire TECO Energy, including Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas and New Mexico Gas Company. It’s an exciting time for us and for the customers and communities we’re proud to continue to serve.
The $10.4 billion transaction closed on July 1, 2016. That’s about 117 years after Tampa Electric began providing safe, reliable, and cost-effective electricity to customers in West Central Florida. In 1981, TECO Energy came into being as the holding company for Tampa Electric. Over the years, our reach grew to include Peoples Gas, Florida’s largest natural gas provider. And last year, we expanded with our own acquisition of New Mexico Gas Company (NMGC), headquartered in Albuquerque.
Our company names and headquarters will all remain the same as we enter this promising new chapter. After closing with Emera, our combined companies will have the power of a top 20 North American regulated utility with geographic diversity and significant growth potential. This is terrific news for a lot of reasons.
For customers, TECO has made it clear that the rates customers pay for electricity and natural gas will remain what they’ve been: among the lowest in Florida and the nation. In fact, due to a drop in fuel costs (a pass-through cost that generates no income for Tampa Electric), the electric rates our customers pay beginning in November 2015 are actually 7 percent less than they were nine years ago. And, our customers in New Mexico will continue to benefit from more than $11 million in anticipated savings through a credit on their bills that began in October 2014 and will continue through and until the next rate case.
For TECO team members, the good news is especially important to emphasize. Emera President and CEO Christopher Huskilson has stressed the need to retain TECO’s workforce. Emera, which is headquartered in Nova Scotia and operates in Canada, New England and the Caribbean, needs TECO’s hard-working team with its unique knowledge of Florida and New Mexico customers, regulations and many other considerations.
Maybe best of all, Emera’s financial strength – made more so now with the acquisition of TECO, which doubles its asset and customer base – has pledged its commitment to the communities we’ve served at levels that match or exceed our current involvement. That means the kind of stories you’ve heard – about how we help those in need, how we stay ready for severe weather, how we bring innovative, award-winning environmental solutions to the community and much, much more – will all continue with the benefit of scale that joining forces with Emera brings.
TECO Energy was the right company for Emera to acquire because we’ve been the right company for our communities for so long. And even though our ownership has changed, our name, hometown headquarters, team members – and more than anything, our commitment to the customers and communities we serve – are stronger than ever.