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Pepco Holdings and Exelon Corp. are still in talks to save their $6.8 billion merger, which is being held up in Washington, D.C. – the last place regulatory approval is needed to seal the deal.
The utility companies are now working past their self-imposed March 4 deadline to accept the conditions set February 26 by the Washington, D.C. Public Service Commission, which were rejected earlier this week by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the People’s Council.
An Exelon spokesman told WTOP News in Washington, D.C. that the March 4 date is no longer a trigger, adding that the utilities will continue talking with representatives of the D.C. government and others to come to an agreement.
Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and FERC have already approved the merger, which would create one of, if not the biggest utility companies in the U.S. Washington, D.C. is the merger’s final hurdle.
On Tuesday, Sandra Mattavous-Frye of the Office of the People’s Council said she would not back the deal because the terms issued by the D.C. Public Service Council removed a previous guarantee of no rate increases for residential ratepayers through March 2019.
The People’s Council had no counter-offer, according to The Washington Post, instead preferring to go back to the deal previously rejected by the PSC.
Bowser said Tuesday that the new terms of the deal were not in the best interests of the people of the District because “The PSC’s counterproposal guts much needed protections against rate increases for DC residents and assistance for low-income DC rate payers.”
If the merger deal cannot be salvaged, Exelon and Pepco may choose to issue bonds to cover what they already spent trying to make their deal work.
The combination of the companies would bring together Exelon’s three electric and gas utilities – BGE, ComEd and PECO – and Pepco Holdings’ three electric and gas utilities – Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and Pepco – to create one of the largest electric and gas utilities in the country.
The combined utility businesses would serve about 10 million customers and have a rate base of about $26 billion.