Chicago-based Exelon is one of America's largest electric utilities. In December 2004, Exelon announced it would attempt to merge with New Jersey-based PSE&G, creating the largest, most powerful electricity company in the nation. Public Citizen joined with a coalition of consumer and environmental groups to oppose this merger. Public Citizen has pointed out that the combined companies will control too many power plants and other energy infrastructure, making it easy for the company to price-gouge consumers. Indeed, the regulator of regional electricity market affected by the merger has concluded that some aspects of the region's power system "are not structurally competitive" - and that's before the merger of Exelon and PSE&G. No wonder the companies' proposal to sell a few power plants to get the merger approved isn't enough to protect consumers.
After the companies announced their merger in December 2004, Exelon and PSEG executives arranged a series of private meetings with the federal regulators who would be deciding whether or not to approve or reject the merger. The public was neither notified about nor invited to these meetings, and no records exist describing what was said during these meetings. In addition to a probable violation of the law, these meetings create the perception that the CEOs and federal regulators arranged a back-room deal at the expense of consumers.
On June 30, 2005, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Exelon-PSEG merger. On July 29, Public Citizen appealed the decision by FERC to approve the merger without a hearing, but the appeal was denied in December 2005. On February 14, 2006 Public Citizen filed a lawsuit against FERC in the DC Court of Appeals over FERC's approval of the merger.
For more information on Public Citizen's efforts to protect consumers by stopping the merger:
Other important Exelon facts: