D.C. officials again oppose Exelon, Pepco merger

Merger mania

WASHINGTON (AP) — District of Columbia officials said Friday they continue to oppose a proposal by power companies Exelon and Pepco to salvage their $6.8 billion merger, but the deal isn't dead yet, the companies said.

District regulators have rejected the merger twice. After the second rejection, regulators offered a revised settlement that would allow the merger to proceed. But Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser and other city officials said that settlement took away important protections for ratepayers and refused to support it.

Chicago-based Exelon Corp. and Washington-based Pepco Holdings Inc. proposed different settlement terms on Monday, offering to give the D.C. Public Service Commission $20 million to use for customer discounts, aid for low-income customers or modernization of the power grid.

On Friday, the attorney general and the people's counsel for the District both said they did not support Exelon and Pepco's revised terms. However, regulators could still vote to accept the new deal without District officials signing off. The commission has until April 7 to act.

"We hope the Public Service Commission will find a solution that secures all of the benefits for the District and Pepco's customers and urge it to consider the alternatives we have outlined to approve the merger," Pepco spokesman Vincent Morris said in a statement.

The merger has already been approved by regulators in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and by the federal government, leaving the District as the final regulatory hurdle. If approved, it would create a large electric and gas utility in the Mid-Atlantic region, serving 10 million customers.

Opponents say the deal would not benefit ratepayer.

"It is difficult to see a basis where the merger can go forward," said Democratic D.C. Council member Mary Cheh, a vocal critic of the deal.

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