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US: Public hearings planned to oppose Maryland power merger

 |  January 13, 2015

A merger of Chicago-based energy company Exelon and regional Maryland electric company Pepco has received many complaints since the proposal emerged in October. From Tuesday night through early February, twelve public hearings have been scheduled across Maryland allowing the public and opponents of the merger to bring forth their complaints.

Roger Berliner, a Montgomery County Council member, helped found The Coalition for Utility Reform in response to the $6.8 billion merger. The coalition is an advocacy group asking that the merger is only allowed if the new utility’s performance can be tied to its profits. In a newsletter Berliner wrote that the group is opposing the merger because Exelon is already the owner of numerous nuclear power plants and that the merger would prevent the advance of renewable energy advances. The group is also concerned about the near monopoly of the state electric grid seeing that the merged entity would control 85 percent of the grid.

The Maryland Public Service Commission is presently evaluating the merger and can still reject the deal or require conditions. In December, a commission consultant estimated that the merger could potentially cost the state between $41 million and $309.4 million through job losses.

To counter the opposition, Exelon is offering $50 credit to each Pepco customer and explain the company goals of reducing power outage frequency by 38 percent and duration by 43 percent by the year 2020.

Full Content: Bethesda Magazine

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