Congratulations to the D.C. Public Service Commission for showing courage today in rejecting Chicago-based Exelon’s acquisition of Pepco. The deal would have been bad for D.C. consumers, and the Commission was right to reject it – and refuse to succumb to Exelon’s extensive lobby campaign. Commissioners rightly listened to the many public interest voices opposed to the deal and determined that it failed to meet the District’s standard of public interest. It is heartening to see that the system works.
In rejecting the deal, D.C. regulators recognized that Exelon’s economic interest and business model are fundamentally incompatible with the District’s established policies of promoting renewable energy and localizing the generation of electricity, and that the potential harm of the merger to the District and its electric utility customers outweighed the benefit to shareholders – who would have received a $1.842 billion windfall had the merger been approved.
We applaud the Commission for basing its decision on the merits of this case. The District was the last jurisdiction to consider the merger and the only jurisdiction to reject it. While their colleagues in Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey yielded to corporate pressure and conditionally approved the takeover, D.C. regulators listened to the Office of People’s Counsel, four D.C. Councilmembers, 27 District advisory neighborhood commissions and more than 1,000 District residents – all of whom opposed the deal.
Ultimately, the conflict between what is good for Exelon and what is good for the District could not be resolved through stipulations and superficial fixes. At the end of the day, D.C. regulators chose what is best for D.C. residents. For this we commend them and congratulate the engaged D.C. citizenry who held them to it.