For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Maryland Leaders Unveil Broad Opposition to Exelon-Pepco Merger
Environmental, consumer, student, business, and faith leaders announce coalition united to stop the merger in order to protect clean, reliable and affordable energy for Maryland
BALTIMORE—A proposed merger between utility giant Exelon and regional utility Pepco Holdings, Inc. faced major new obstacles Thursday when leading environmental, consumer, student, business and faith groups announced their staunch and united opposition at a Baltimore press conference. Unveiling a letter signed by 20 groups, the coalition detailed why the proposed merger would harm consumers and the environment and prevent Maryland from realizing a clean, affordable, and reliable 21st-century electric grid.
Today’s open letter to the pubic lays out the step-by-step evidence for why the merger should be rejected by the Maryland Public Service Commission. The PSC will hold hearings on the merger in early 2015. The letter states that the coalition is “unequivocally opposed to this merger as proposed.” It states that given Exelon’s track record, the groups “are concerned that there is no way forward for this merger that would produce the key reforms and positive elements that Maryland’s electricity grid requires.”
“The proposed merger would take Maryland in exactly the wrong direction at a time when we should be investing in a modern and more customer-centric electricity system,” said Tyson Slocum, Energy Program Director of Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group. “Marylanders deserve a 21st century electric grid that delivers cleaner, more local, and more reliable energy, but this merger would lock over 80% of Marylanders into a 20th century grid controlled by a single company based in Chicago.”
The proposed merger would make Exelon, already a top spender on lobbying in Annapolis and a company with a track record of opposing many renewable energy policies, the largest utility company not just in Maryland, but the entire nation. Exelon is already the largest nuclear power plant owner in the country. The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) must sign off on the merger before it can proceed, and several environmental groups joining Thursday’s event have already intervened in the PSC case.
“Unfortunately, Exelon has been one of the leading voices against policies promoting wind power and other renewable technologies,” said Bruce Burcat, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC), which represents wind and solar companies across the East Coast. “But these smart renewable energy policies have helped bring the price of wind energy down to the point that it is now cost-competitive with new traditional power plants, while delivering health and environmental benefits. Exelon is promoting an agenda that would raise the cost of renewable technologies in an effort to reverse the gains made, and that will continue to be made, as a result of these vital and highly effective policies.”
“The Public Service Commission should reject this merger because Exelon opposes most of the major renewable energy policies that Maryland needs to fight climate change,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “Maryland has historically been a renewable energy leader and rightly so. With 3,190 miles of coastline, Maryland is the third most vulnerable state in the country to sea-level rise from climate change. Maryland can show real leadership by saying ‘no’ to an energy monopoly in our state, and ‘yes’ to clean and affordable energy for all Marylanders.”
“So many of us across DC and Maryland have been working hard for years to save energy and to shift to cleaner power,” said Joelle Novey, director of Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA), which works with faith communities throughout the region. “We’re very concerned that Exelon’s way of doing business will interfere with our ability to make our own choices about how our energy is produced, distributed, and used.”
Click here to view a PDF copy of the open letter signed by 20 groups opposing the merger.
Kelly Trout, 240-396-2022, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Tidwell, 240-460-5838, email@example.com