TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford is defending his government's moves to make changes to the senior ranks of Hydro One after U.S. regulators rejected the utility's proposed takeover of an American company over concerns of political interference.

Ford says his Progressive Conservatives are working to bring hydro rates down for Ontario residents, something he says the now-scuttled $6.7 billion deal would not have achieved.

Washington State regulators rejected Hydro One Ltd.'s proposed takeover of Avista Corp yesterday, citing political interference in the utility by the provincial government, which is company's largest shareholder.

The regulators pointed to Ford's move to force the Hydro One chief executive to retire as proof that the province was willing to intervene in business operations.

Mayo Schmidt's early retirement was quickly followed by the resignation of the utility's entire board, as well as downgrades and lower values of Hydro One and Avista shares.

The province's opposition parties are blaming the Ford government for the deal falling through.