D.C. mayor reverses support for troubled Exelon-Pepco merger


A trio of power brokers in Washington, D.C. — the District of Columbia's attorney general, the mayor of Washington, D.C. and the Office of the People's Council — have each turned their backs on the Exelon-Pepco merger as the two utilities fight to save it.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said Tuesday that the new terms of the $6.8 billion deal to create the one of the largest electric and gas utilities in the country were not in the best interests of the people of the District.

"From the start, we focused on affordability, reliability and sustainability. We pulled everyone together to negotiate an agreement that was a great deal for DC residents, according to a statement from the mayor's office posted to her website. "The Public Service Commission rejected an agreement that had the support of the Peoples Counsel, Attorney General, DC Water and others. The PSC's counterproposal guts much needed protections against rate increases for DC residents and assistance for low-income DC rate payers. That is not a deal that I can support."

The merger was previously approved in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, as well as with FERC.

Also on Tuesday, Sandra Mattavous-Frye of the the Office of the People's Council said she would not back the deal because the new terms issued by the D.C. Public Service Council removed a previous guarantee of no rate increases for residential ratepayers through March 2019.

“The Commission’s order eviscerates the benefits and protections essential to render the proposed merger in the public interest by making changes to the $25.6 million rate offset provision for residential customers which was the single most critical provision I supported,” Mattavous-Frye said.

The People's Council had no counter-offer, according to The Washington Post, instead preferring to go back to the deal previously rejected by the PSC.

Karl A. Racine, the District's attorney general, also said the consumer protections stripped out by the PSC made the deal unacceptable to his office.

If a deal is not salvaged to save the merger by Friday, Pepco and Exelon may have no choice but to walk away.

The combination of the companies would bring together Exelon’s three electric and gas utilities — BGE, ComEd and PECO — and Pepco Holdings’ three electric and gas utilities — Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and Pepco — to create one of the largest electric and gas utilities in the country.

The combined utility businesses would serve about 10 million customers and have a rate base of about $26 billion. 

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