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Eversource Energy is diving into the water business.

New England’s largest energy utility, based in Boston and Hartford, plans to acquire Aquarion Water Co. for $880 million in cash. Eversource will also assume $795 million of Aquarion’s debt.

The acquisition marks Eversource’s biggest deal since the company was created through the merger of Northeast Utilities and NStar in 2012. Unlike those names, which were eventually replaced with the Eversource brand, the Aquarion name will survive. Spokeswoman Caroline Pretyman said Eversource, led by CEO Jim Judge, will run Connecticut-based Aquarion as a separate subsidiary.

This is Eversource’s first foray into the water business. Pretyman said there may be additional opportunities for another water deal but executives don’t see any on the horizon right now.

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She said no changes are expected to staffing levels at Aquarion’s 300-person workforce. Eversource employs about 8,000 people.

Eversource serves 3.7 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, while Aquarion serves nearly 230,000 water customers in those states. In Massachusetts, Aquarion provides water to Hingham, Hull, Millbury, Oxford, and part of Cohasset.


Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.