Warren Buffet's Company Buying Pacificorp

Warren Buffet's Company Buying Pacificorp

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John Daley ReportingWith the proper government approvals PacificCorp, the company that owns Utah Power, is changing hands. The new owner says Utahns can expect no major changes in rates, service, or number of Utah employees.

It's a 9.4 billion dollar deal; one of the key players is one of the world's wealthiest people, and the new owners say they're prepared to invest new money into Utah's over-stretched infrastructure.

Most of us take electricity for granted until it goes out, and when it does we really notice. Case in point: December of 2003, heavy snows on Christmas Day left downed power lines and 100-thousand Utah Power customers in the dark for days. Some argued the stage for that trouble was set in the 1990s after Pacificorp bought Utah Power and Light and then didn't invest enough in equipment upgrades.

Today a significant announcement that MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company has reached agreement with the current owner, Scottish Power, to buy Pacificorp.

David Sokol, MidAmerican CEO: "I think it's important that we will bring stability. We will be the last owner of this utility asset. We're a permanent capital. We have no interest in selling."

One of America's wealthiest businessmen, Warren Buffet, is investing 5 billion dollars in cash in the deal and he says the new owners will invest new capitol in Pacificorp.

Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway: "I'm sure we'll invest very substantial money in the next five years, but I'd really expect us to be doing that in the decades after that."

One watchdog, Roger Ball, former director of the Committee of Consumer Services, says, "We need to get them to start to refocus on Utah. We need them to reinvest in base load generation and distribution."

The deal was so hush-hush it even caught state officials by surprise. Now all sides say they're committed to affordable, reliable power.

Russell Skousen, Executive Director, Utah Dept. of Commerce: "The power company providing services to Utahns has been in a catch up mode for years. And the time is now that we want it caught up."

David Sokol, MidAmerican CEO: "The key is long-term, reliable energy at an affordable price and that's our goal."

This deal must still be approved by the shareholders of ScottishPower and state and federal agencies. The transaction is expected to be completed next year.

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