The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) today approved the merger between Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU) and NSTAR (NYSE: NST). The approval comes 18 months after the companies first announced the merger anticipated to save customers $780 million in the next 10 years. The DPU also approved the settlement agreements the companies reached with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the Attorney General which ensure rate benefits for customers along with increased environmental commitments. “Today marks a historic day for our companies and our customers,” said Thomas J. May, NSTAR Chairman, President and CEO. “We thank the DPU and our employees for their hard work over these past many months, and now set our sights on finalizing our merger in the coming days. Together with NU, we look forward to creating a stronger company which builds on our shared history of delivering quality service to New England.” As a direct result of the merger, customers will receive upfront benefits in the form of rate credits, cost savings, increased focus on environmental initiatives and greater transparency – all unprecedented benefits for Massachusetts customers. The combination of Northeast Utilities and NSTAR also creates one of the nation’s largest utilities, with six regulated electric and gas utilities in three New England states and approximately 3.5 million customers. NU’s numerous transmission investment opportunities coupled with NSTAR’s strong balance sheet translates into an impressive growth opportunity for the combined company. The combined company will be larger, more diverse and better positioned to support continued economic growth in New England and meet customers’ future energy needs. “A year and half ago, we set out to combine Northeast Utilities and NSTAR and create a great New England-based company, knowing that together we would be even stronger advocates for our customers and the region as a whole," said Charles W. Shivery, NU's Chairman, President and CEO. "Each day of the merger process has only reinforced the value that joining our companies will deliver, tomorrow and for many years to come."