Dozens Protest Exelon-Pepco Merger in Baltimore

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in Baltimore Thursday to protest the proposed merger of Exelon and Pepco Holdings, Inc. utility companies.

Representatives from environmental advocacy organizations spoke in front of Exelon's Baltimore office and urged regulators to reject the deal.

Exelon is planning to purchase Pepco Holdings for $6.83 billion in an all-cash transaction, the companies announced in April. Pepco Holdings provides energy to more than two million customers in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and parts of Delaware and New Jersey.

The merger would create a single dominant energy provider in the Mid-Atlantic region.

"The proposed merger is directly counter to the competitive marketplace and is bad for consumers, because it could reduce reliability, raise rates and risk public safety," said Emily Scarr of the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

Exelon released a statement in response, which said Exelon and Pepco Holdings "welcome input from all stakeholders in our proposed merger. ... The commitments we have offered in the merger will strengthen our support for the community, significantly reduce power outages and create about $170 million in direct benefits for Pepco and Delmarva Power customers in Maryland over the next decade."

Last month, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a research organization that supports alternative energy, said the merger would expose customers to rate increases.

"The high price that Exelon proposes to pay for Pepco — $2.5 billion more than the net book value of Pepco’s assets — will put pressure on Exelon to extract as much value as possible from the acquisition. This increases the risk of rate increases for Pepco customers and stems from Pepco’s ownership interest in nuclear generation," IEEFA's Cathy Kunkel said in statement.

Exelon has pledged to provide $100 million to a "customer investment fund" to help pay for "customer benefits, such as rate credits, assistance for low income customers and energy efficiency measures," the two companies said in a statement.

If the deal is approved, the two companies aim to close later this year.

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