New Analysis Highlights Alarming Anti-Consumer Impacts of Proposed Enbridge/Spectra Energy Mega-Merger

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Seth Gladstone – sgladstone@fwwatch.org

New Analysis Highlights Alarming Anti-Consumer Impacts of Proposed Enbridge/Spectra Energy Mega-Merger

Advocacy Group Calls on FTC to Extend Merger Review in Light of Alarming Examination

WASHINGTON - The advocacy group Food & Water Watch released an extensive analysis today documenting the significant anti-competitive, anti-consumer and anti-environmental impacts of the proposed merger between Enbridge Inc. and Spectra Energy Corp. Food & Water Watch called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to extend its review of the massive, ill-advised fossil fuel infrastructure merger and ultimately block the deal.

The new analysis outlines the existing consolidation in the pipeline and midstream energy markets and highlights how the proposed merger would substantially reduce competition in key sectors and regions. An Enbridge-Spectra merger would create the largest energy infrastructure firm in the country, controlling approximately 20 percent of North America’s natural gas supplies, 13.5 percent of U.S. natural gas pipeline capacity and 14 percent of U.S. natural gas processing.

“An Enbridge-Spectra mega-merger would create a domineering fossil fuel monopoly that would have the economic and political power to arbitrarily raise prices on consumers by manipulating the market at every stage of the natural gas product cycle, from the wellhead to the meter,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The merger would create a sprawling 38,000-mile oil and gas pipeline network — and with both firms carrying disturbing safety and service records, this deal would put the wellbeing of countless communities at risk. The FTC must extend its review of this dangerous, anti-consumer merger, and ultimately reject it.”

The analysis highlights key regional markets where the proposed merger would substantially decrease competition and easily enable Enbridge-Spectra to raise prices on consumers and/or increase costs for its rivals. The deal would cement Enbridge-Spectra as the dominant player in key regions. It would give the four biggest pipeline companies control of: 79 percent of the offshore Gulf of Mexico-Louisiana natural gas pipeline network; 92 percent of the pipelines crossing the U.S.-Canada border; and 100 percent of the pipelines in and out of Michigan.

As the analysis details, the merger would also give Enbridge-Spectra unique leverage over consumers in key markets. In New York, Spectra’s Texas Easten pipeline transports gas, while Enbridge operates two gas utility companies there. Moreover, Enbridge is planning to build gas-fired power plants throughout the region, giving the company the incentive and ability to raise prices on rival gas-fired electricity companies. And Enbridge-Spectra would also control 42 percent of Midwestern natural gas processing and substantially increase concentration, creating the ability to raise prices on products like propane and raise costs for other pipeline firms that require processing.

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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