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Message at Public Hearings: Exelon-Pepco Merger Not in Public Interest, Would Shift Risk From Exelon to Consumers

Jan. 12, 2015

Message at Public Hearings: Exelon-Pepco Merger Not in Public Interest, Would Shift Risk From Exelon to Consumers

D.C. and Maryland’s Public Service Commissions to Hold Public Hearings on Exelon-Pepco Merger

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An Exelon-Pepco merger would not be in the best interest of the public and would not benefit consumers, Public Citizen and residents will tell the D.C. and Maryland Public Service Commissions at a series of public hearings this week.

The merger was proposed in April between Exelon Corporation and Pepco Holdings, Inc.

The D.C. Commission hearings will be held today and Jan. 20; Maryland’s hearings are Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 13 and 14.

In written testimony to the Maryland commission and verbal testimony before the first District commission hearing in December, Public Citizen experts laid out how the proposed merger would give Exelon too much control over electricity pricing and delivery, could lead to higher prices and would deal a setback to efforts to boost the use of renewable energy.

On Tuesday, Allison Fisher, outreach director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, will testify and will deliver a petition with more than 500 signatures of local residents calling on the Maryland Public Service Commission to reject the proposal. More than two dozen Maryland residents are expected to attend the commission’s hearings voicing their opposition to the merger.

“Opposition to the merger is strong. Environmental, public health, business, faith, low-income and social justice advocates have all joined together to oppose the merger,” said Fisher. “Consumers know they are getting the short end of the stick on this proposed deal.”

Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, will testify on Wednesday.

Problems with the merger include:

  • A merger would reduce competition, likely resulting in higher prices for consumers, according to a report by the Independent Market Monitor – an independent agency that monitors the regional organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity through the area – filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • It would be more difficult to increase the use of renewable energy. That’s because Exelon owns power plants and sells power to the wholesale market. Pepco, in contrast, owns no power plants. Instead, it buys power on the wholesale market and sells electricity to its customers. The merger would fundamentally change Pepco’s business model from a neutral supplier of energy to a more captive conduit of Exelon’s power sales. As a result, an Exelon-controlled Pepco likely would discourage consumer-owned energy, like rooftop solar, because it would compete with its power plant-generated electricity ? particularly since Exelon has been a leading opponent of incentives for wind and solar energy.

“This is just a bad deal for consumers all around,” said Slocum. “Both the D.C. and the Maryland Public Service Commissions need to block this merger, and disconnect these two companies for good.”

Find more information about the merger.

View times and locations for the Jan. 13 and 14 Maryland hearings, as well as times and locations for the D.C. hearings (PDF) today and Jan. 20.