JUNEAU, Alaska -

Spokane, Wash.-based energy company Avista Corp. has announced plans to buy Alaska Energy and Resources Co., the privately held parent of Juneau's electric utility.

The merger, announced Monday, must be approved by regulatory agencies. The companies expect that process to be complete by July.

They said the purchase price at closing will be $170 million, minus debt and other adjustments.

Alaska Energy and Resources Co.'s main holding is Alaska Energy Light and Power Co., or AEL&P, which said all its employees will keep their jobs.

Scott Willis, a vice president with AEL&P, says Alaska Energy and Resources had been looking for a buyer for about two years. He says the company is primarily owned by one family, and there was no longer a family member interested in being in charge.