DC Commission Rejects Exelon-Pepco Merger, But Offers a Compromise

BALTIMORE (The Baltimore Sun/TNS) —

The Washington, D.C., Public Service Commission rejected a proposal to merge Exelon and its neighbor Pepco Holdings on Friday, but left the door open for a merger with different conditions.

The $6.9 billion merger was approved in a 3-2 vote in Maryland last year and has been approved by a host of other parties, but ran into headwinds in D.C., where the PSC rejected another merger proposal in August. The utility companies promised greater investment in the District struck a new settlement with the backing of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other stakeholders.

On a 2-1 vote, the D.C. PSC rejected that deal Friday. But the regulatory body then voted to send the proposal back to the companies with changes including requiring new penalties if the utility doesn’t comply with certain conditions. The companies have 14 days to decide whether to accept the revised settlement.

“The Commission’s order prescribes new provisions that we and the settling parties must carefully review to determine whether they are acceptable,” Exelon spokesman Paul Adams said in an email. “Once we have had a chance to study the order and confer with the settling parties, we will have more to say about what it means and our next steps.”

Some opponents of the merger were disappointed with the outcome, arguing that the merger is not in the best interest of citizens in any form.

“Tens of thousands of residents, the majority of DC’s neighborhoods, and all of the substantive experts who looked at this merger agreed that it will lead to higher electricity rates and slower progress on clean, efficient energy,” said Anya Schoolman, a leader of opponent group PowerDC Coalition, in a statement. “In the end, we fear that the corrupting influence of corporate money on our elected officials won the day — again.”

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