The total value of merger & acquisitions deals in the US power and utilities sector fell significantly in the third quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2010.

While the total number of deals dipped marginally – 36 this year compared to 37 last year – figures released today show the value gap is vast, hitting a near-record low for the period ending 30 September.

This year there were nine transactions worth more than $50m, with their combined value hitting $3.1bn. Last year there were 14 deals worth 10.9bn.

According to the statistics from consultants PwC US, the average deal size fell in the third quarter to $342m from $781m last September.

John McConomy, US power and utilities transaction services leader with PwC, said the focus for deals shifted to integration and sealing contracts already announced.

“Stock price volatility and debt concerns also contributed to deal slowdown in the third quarter and we believe many in-process and contemplated deals are being deferred until the capital markets settle down,” he added.

The biggest North American deal in the third quarter by far was LS Power Corp’s takeover of NextEra Energy Resources gas assets for $1.05bn. Next was Gaz Metro’s acquisition of Central Vermont Public Service for $541m.

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