- Environmental and consumer advocates are warning Maryland regulators that allowing a merger of Exelon and Pepco Holdings would give the combined entity too much control without significant benefit back to consumers, the Baltimore Sun reports.
- The Maryland Office of People's Counsel, a state utility customer advocate agency, recommended rejection of the merger earlier this week. Staff of the Maryland Public Service Commission have suggested additional protections before the deal can move forward, and the Sierra Club notes Exelon has opposed clean energy initiatives and demand response.
- Last month FERC approved the merger, and Virginia regulators signed off in October, but the deal must still pass muster in Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Jersey and Maryland before it can be finalized
Exelon and Pepco hope to complete their merger in the first half of next year, but comments to the Maryland PSC indicate the process may face significant scrutiny over concerns its generating fleet may create competitive conflicts when it comes to serving utility customers. The Baltimore Sun reports PSC staff are advocating the companies put up tens of millions more for customer bill credits and want additional savings passed on to customers. It is the first time in this merger's proceedings that regulators have recommended such changes.
The Office of People's Counsel filed comments objecting to the deal, which it said would give Exelon a near-monopoly in Maryland controlled by an out of state corporation. The Kansas-based consultancy hired by the Staff of the PSC called Exelon's estimate of economic benefits for Maryland "deeply flawed", the Baltimore Sun reports, and said it does not take into account expected job losses in the state.
The Sierra Club filed testimony noting that Exelon has "consistently opposed the measures (tax credits, renewable portfolio standards, long-term contracts, net metering) that will reduce the risk and hence the cost of developing new clean resources," and wants demand response disallowed from PJM capacity markets.
While the Sierra Club does not want the merger to move forward, the group said some concerns could be mitigated if Exelon would agree to split its generation business from its distribution subsidiaries.
"The combination of Exelon’s large merchant fleet, the dependence of its nuclear plants on high market prices, and the location of much of that generation in PJM together pose a risk of harm to consumers," the group said.