O’Malley Reaches Constellation-Exelon Settlement

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A settlement with Exelon Corp. over its proposed $7.9 billion takeover of Baltimore’s Constellation Energy will mean much bigger benefits in investment and jobs for Maryland than the company initially proposed, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Thursday.

Exelon’s investment would grow from $270 million to more than $1 billion over the next decade, under the settlement outlined by the governor. It also requires between 285 and 300 megawatts of energy generation to be built, compared to the 25 megawatts initially proposed.

“The biggest difference was the new generation here domestically,” O’Malley said at a news conference in Annapolis.

“It’s 10 times as much new generation as was originally proposed, and it’s doubling, in essence, of our renewable energy here in our state in a very short horizon, relatively speaking.”

O’Malley, a Democrat, opposed the company’s initial proposal because he said it did not go far enough to benefit ratepayers or the public interest and ensure the state would not be harmed — three requirements under state law. The governor said he believes the enhanced proposal now meets state standards for approving a merger.

The settlement, which still must be approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission, includes a $100 credit for BGE ratepayers and provides $60 million for low-to-moderate income residents, the governor said. The deal calls for a $10 million contribution to the Electric Universal Service Program, which assists low-income ratepayers with electricity bills, and includes a $50 million contribution to weatherize homes of low-to-moderate income families.

The details are contained in a proposed settlement for an active PSC proceeding. The PSC, which could still make changes to the deal, has a Jan. 5 deadline to decide on the merger.

Exelon President Christopher Crane said the merger is a major objective of Exelon’s growth strategy. He said the company has been in discussions with the state, the city of Baltimore and others to understand their needs and expectations.

“As a result, we enhanced the already robust package of benefits that the merger will provide for the State of Maryland and BGE customers,” Crane said in a statement.

O’Malley said the settlement also would nearly double the state’s solar energy installations and potentially double land-based wind generation, and it would create the state’s first facility to convert animal waste to energy. The agreement includes a provision to create the first new gas-electricity generation plant built in Maryland in nearly a decade.

The deal also would set up a $32 million fund to develop offshore wind as lawmakers prepare to take up legislation that stalled in the last regular legislative session to spur offshore wind development off the coast of Ocean City.

“It means Maryland is one step closer to developing a home-grown manufacturing base for wind turbines and an overall economy that helps solve global warming,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Exelon also would build a new 400,000-square-foot office in Baltimore under the settlement. The governor estimated the settlement will boost job creation numbers from 2,440 in the company’s initial proposal to more than 6,000.

The settlement also keeps the PSC’s ability to spin-off BGE, if Exelon runs into significant financial problems, experiences a nuclear disaster or repeatedly violates PSC orders.

The PSC has authority over the deal because it regulates BGE, which services more than a million customers in central Maryland.

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

  • jim

    And how much money did he line his pockets with!!!!!!!!

  • Neil

    I know. I wonder if they agreed to fund his run for the Senate. I am sure he is going to take Mikulski’s spot. That is if it does not happen soon and he just appoints himself.

    • TruthTeller

      OweTaxMe is a legend in his own mind. He has been salivating for national office since the days of the Clinton administration.

    • Stupidity Rules

      Bullseye Niel. Right on target. Energy lobbyists and pacs, here we go!!!!

  • d glen burnie

    did you noticed he saiid more money for the state nothing for us maybe some jobs but will our electic go down no . will we get money and or dicounts back no. once again the state of md taking more money , cain’t wait til I can leave this fu@@@@@%%%%k state

  • jimmy

    i am not low income but i am surely not upper middle income either. i wonder what the cut off point will be for the contribution to weatherize your home. the reason i am not low income level is because i bust my a$$ to provide for my family. i suppose this will be another “deal” that burns up my tax dollars and does not provide me with any benefit.

  • TruthTeller

    Yep, we are hosed again. I’ll take that insult that they call a $100 ratepayer credit and bank it to save towards the higher bills we’ll undoubtedly be getting from Chicago. As for wind farms, erecting one off Ocean City will be a financial bust due to the costs involved but this Guv just persists in making unilateral decisions that will end up costing hugely more than the benefit and he knows it. Similarly, defacing the mountaintops in western MD for these windmills has numerous drawbacks as well. But, the Guv could care less as he continues the fine MD tradition of ignoring rural MD. Let the rural’s put up with the downsides of his energy plans. And, of course, all the energy in MD created by these boondoggles will be sold to the highest bidders which you know will be in NY and NJ. Where’s the benefits to Marylanders? There are none. People need to seriously wake up in this state.

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