- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 12, 2016

For the third time in two weeks, the $6.8 billion merger between D.C.’s electricity provider and a mammoth, Chicago-based energy manufacturer looks to be in peril after two city government officials came out against the latest proposal on Friday.

The newest iteration of the nearly-dead Pepco-Exelon merger agreement, which the companies brought to the Public Service Commission Monday, was soundly rejected by both the D.C. People’s Council Sandra Mattavous-Frye and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine.

“Neither of the alternatives offered by the Public Service Commission or the joint applicants guarantees the type of rate protection I have been seeking in this case for almost two years,” Ms. Mattavous-Frye said.

Mr. Racine joined the People’s Council, saying the deal presented by the two power companies this week was bad for city residents.

“We continue to believe that, of the settlement terms so far offered to enable this merger, only the original settlement sufficiently upholds the public interest,” Mr. Racine said.

Mr. Racine and Ms. Mattavous-Frye are among a host of parties, including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Water, Pepco and Exelon, that must all approve the deal before it’s done.

The PowerDC Coalition, a consortium of environmental groups who’ve been against the Pepco-Exelon merger from the start, applauded Ms. Mattavous-Frye for rejecting the deal.

“Today’s filings are great news for D.C. residents and ratepayers,” said Anya Schoolman on behalf of the PowerDC Coalition. “There is no viable path forward for Exelon’s attempt to take over Pepco. We agree with the Office of the People’s Counsel’s filing. D.C. is ready to move on.”

Late last month, the PSC rejected a Pepco-Exelon merger deal brokered by Ms. Bowser, along with the two power companies.

PSC objected to the commission’s lack of oversight of how the $78 million would be spent. It offered an alternative in which the commission would dole out funds as it sees fit, hoping to offset rates hikes for businesses and the federal government. Ms. Bowser’s proposal sought to offset rate hikes for residential customers.

Ms. Bowser, Ms. Mattavous-Frye, Mr. Racine and D.C. Water General Manager George Hawkins rejected that counteroffer.

Then on Monday, Pepco and Exelon filed a new agreement with the PSC that would give some of the $78 million till to the mayor to quell rate increases for residential customers and some to the PSC to help offset rate hikes for businesses and the federal government.

The deal, which was first announced in April 2014 and has been approved by utility regulators in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and New Jersey, looked dead at the time.

The Public Service Commission in August first rejected the Pepco-Exelon merger, which would create the largest electric utility in the United States.

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