The California Public Utilities Commission agreed this week to approve PacifiCorp's merger with Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy on condition that the company implement safeguards to protect California ratepayers. The approval comes with 60 conditions to shield consumers receiving PacifiCorp power from negative impacts arising from the merger. The commitments provide "most favored nation treatment" - that is, they help keep ratepayers from being harmed by the multibillion-dollar transaction - said commissioner John Bohn during the CPUC's February 16 meeting. He and his fellow regulators refused to exempt the merger - involving assets and ratepayers in several states - from CPUC approval. PacifiCorp has 44,000 California customers along the California-Oregon border, producing $65 million in annual revenue to the utility, according to the CPUC. The mandatory conditions include: - Not saddling ratepayers with the $1.2 billion acquisition premium. - Following through with PacifiCorp's agreement to purchase 1,400 MW of new renewable resources. - Investing more than $1.3 billion in transmission and distribution. - Reducing emissions at PacifiCorp's coal-fired plants. - Spending $450,000 over three years to study the source of toxic algae in the Klamath River, where hydropower is generated. - Conducting energy-efficiency and demand-side-management studies. - A commitment that the company will not seek a higher rate of return on its investments. Last May, MidAmerican agreed to purchase PacifiCorp from Scottish Power for $9.4 billion. The merger will become final only if approved by a number of states. In early February, Utah and Wyoming were the first states to approve the transfer. Idaho approved the merger on February 13.