A struggle is underway for ownership of the utility business. Not a fight between companies, but a struggle within each company for the future of the utility.
The battle pits two...
The chief executive officers of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and Potomac Electric Power Co. have expressed disappointment over a July 28 decision by a Baltimore County judge denying a motion to return their proposed merger case to the Maryland Public Service Commission.
The judge's decision will keep the merger proceeding before the Baltimore County Circuit Court.
"As we previously stated and made very clear to the court, we cannot merge in accordance with the terms of the current PSC order," said BGE Chair Christian Poindexter and PEPCO Chair Edward F. Mitchell.
The Maryland PSC had approved the merger on April 16, but ordered a $56-million rate cut and a three-year rate freeze. Local 1900 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which opposes the merger, had appealed the PSC order to the court. IBEW represents workers at PEPCO, but was not successful at efforts to represent the workers at BGE.
"The only party that benefits by this decision is the IBEW, whose appeal is clearly without merit, but whose publicly advertised goal is to tie the merger up in the courts in the hope it will never be consummated," Poindexter and Mitchell said.
The utilities have outlined the portions of the PSC's merger order that they believe need modification for the merger to proceed. The utilities would prefer:
• $26-million rate cuts for Maryland customers, followed by a four-year base-rate freeze;
• a surcharge allowing full recovery of costs of purchased power contracts;
• a mechanism splitting merger benefits 50-50 between shareholders and customers; and
• recovery of merger costs during the four-year freeze.
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