March 2, 2016 Read More →

Questions Over Latest Wrinkle in Deal to Let Exelon Take Over D.C.-Area Utility

Amy Poszywak for SNL:

The path to approval for Exelon Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Pepco Holdings Inc., thought to be made clearer after a recent decision by District of Columbia regulators, was made murkier March 1.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and People’s Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye separately announced they will not support PSC-suggested changes to a settlement agreement they and other parties had previously reached with the companies. A spokesperson for D.C., also a party to the agreement, separately said his office, too, is opposed to the PSC’s changes. The original settlement agreement, reached in October 2015, had essentially brought the proposed deal back to life after an initial PSC rejection of the transaction in late August 2015.

The District of Columbia Public Service Commission on Feb. 26 voted to impose new conditions on the settlement agreement, giving signatories 14 days to accept the new conditions, at which point the deal could be approved without further action necessary by the commission. The parties were also allowed to file an alternative proposal, triggering a seven-day comment period on those alternatives.

All three parties opposed to the PSC’s new conditions said the PSC’s proposed conditions remove rate protections in the settlement agreement geared toward residential customers.

“From the start, we focused on affordability, reliability and sustainability. We pulled everyone together to negotiate an agreement that was a great deal for DC residents,” Mayor Bowser’s office said in a statement. “The Public Service Commission rejected an agreement that had the support of the Peoples Counsel, Attorney General, DC Water and others. The PSC’s counterproposal guts much-needed protections against rate increases for D.C. residents and assistance for low-income D.C. ratepayers. That is not a deal that I can support.”

More specifically, Mattavous-Frye said the commission’s suggested changes to the agreement “eviscerates the benefits and protections essential to render the proposed merger in the public interest by making changes to the $25.6 million rate offset provision for residential customers, which was the single most critical provision I supported.”

Full article ($): After step forward, opposition to Exelon/Pepco deal mounts

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