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Rawlings-Blake: Constellation Deal To Bring Jobs

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BALTIMORE (AP) — Constellation Energy and Exelon Corp. say their $7.9 billion merger will be a plus for Baltimore and the state of Maryland.

Exelon says the new company will be headquartered in Chicago and will keep the Exelon name. However, Exelon’s power marketing business and Constellation’s retail and wholesale business will be headquartered in Baltimore along with both companies’ renewable energy businesses.

The companies said they plan to build or renovate a new office center in the city and invest more than $250 million in the state. Customers of Constellation’s Baltimore Gas & Electric subsidiary, meanwhile, will get a $100 credit 90 days after the deal closes. BGE jobs also will not be affected by the merger for at least two years after the deal is completed.

The companies anticipate completing the merger in early 2012.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she met Wednesday with Constellation Chairman, President and CEO Mayo A. Shattuck III, who assured her the deal would mean more jobs and a new office building for Baltimore and that the company’s philanthropy in the region would not go away.

“He’s committed to making sure that this is not just a win for Constellation, but a win for Baltimore city. I’m proud of the work that he did on that and I’m looking forward to having them be a part of our family,” the mayor said.

While the city is losing a Fortune 500 company, Rawlings-Blake said the deal was “a net job gain for the city.”

“It’s laying the foundation for further job growth in the city,” the mayor said. “I think you can have the glass half full or the glass half empty. I look at it half full and keep moving.”

The companies said the investment in the state includes more than $50 million to develop 25 megawatts of renewable energy in Maryland.

Gov. Martin O’Malley says the proposed merger is subject to approval by the state’s Public Service Commission,

“We will participate actively in those proceedings to ensure that the transaction is in the best interest of Maryland ratepayers,” O’Malley said in a statement.

Constellation has had a rocky history with the governor and state regulators.

O’Malley used rising electricity rates following deregulation as a key part of his first campaign for governor. State lawmakers approved deregulation in 1999 and rates began to rise as O’Malley sought office when caps began to be lifted. After the governor took office, Constellation and the state battled in court over rising rates before reaching a $2 billion settlement.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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