Maryland Opposes Exelon Purchase Of Constellation

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Constellation’s merger is bad business for BGE customers, according to Governor Martin O’Malley and other Maryland lawmakers.

Mike Hellgren has the opposition and why the company disagrees.

A nasty battle is brewing to stop the merger of BGE’s parent company, Constellation Energy, and Exelon. Executives first revealed the deal in April.

“I received the phone call and these gentlemen were ultimately very persuasive, I guess,” said Constellation CEO Mayo Shattuck III.

Now, in new filings, the O’Malley administration is coming out against it, saying, “We oppose the deal in its present form” because it “poses a significant risk of harm to BGE customers.”

Constellation has tried to merge three times in the past five years, at times drawing fire from the governor.

“We will not take it on faith or handshake that this is in the public interest,” said O’Malley.

“This is part of the process,” said BGE spokesman Rob Gould.

BGE’s spokesman rejects the administration’s concerns about the new company being based out of state.

“Autonomy of decision-making for the utility, for BGE, will be right here in Baltimore,” Gould said.

Other worries include that the combined company will be too dependent on its nuclear business and reliability.

“The fact is, when you’re selling off or selling out a Fortune 500 company like Constellation, you better be careful and I don’t think it’s a good deal for Maryland,” said Delegate Pat McDonough.

So what does this mean for BGE customers?

“The only thing they’ll notice is a $100 rate credit on their bill,” Gould said.

Exelon also promises no BGE layoffs for two years, millions in charitable giving and energy assistance for the poor.

“That’s the way we run it and that’s what we’re committed to,” said Exelon CEO John Rowe. “These companies fit together beautifully.”

The real showdown could come at Public Service Commission hearings next month.

“It’s not a merger; it’s a sellout. We are losing Constellation Energy to a company from Illinois,” McDonough said.

We should know by early next year whether the merger will go through.

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