An im­proved Ex­elon-Pepco deal

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - BY JOE RIGBY AND CHRIS CRANE Joe Rigby is chair­man, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Pepco Hold­ings. Chris Crane is pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ex­elon.

When the D.C. Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion in Au­gust re­jected the merger of our com­pa­nies, Ex­elon and Pepco, we got the mes­sage loud and clear.

Since then, we have worked hard to bet­ter un­der­stand the Dis­trict’s pri­or­i­ties and have lis­tened to the reg­u­la­tors’ con­cerns. We were pleased to work with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and other Dis­trict lead­ers to reach a set­tle­ment with sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced ben­e­fits. We re­main com­mit­ted to com­plet­ing this merger and bring­ing th­ese ben­e­fits to D.C. cus­tomers and com­mu­ni­ties.

Our new pro­posal has more than 120 com­mit­ments to ad­dress each of the com­mis­sion’s con­cerns and en­sure the merger is in the pub­lic in­ter­est. It more than dou­bles di­rect ben­e­fits for D.C. cus­tomers and pro­vides res­i­den­tial bill cred­its, low-in­come as­sis­tance, fewer and shorter out­ages, cleaner and greener en­ergy and in­vest­ments in lo­cal jobs and the lo­cal econ­omy.

The pro­posal makes elec­tric­ity more af­ford­able for cus­tomers. Of the $78 mil­lion in funds we have of­fered to pro­vide, $25.6 mil­lion will off­set dis­tri­bu­tion rate in­creases for res­i­den­tial cus­tomers through 2019, $14 mil­lion will go to a one-time di­rect bill credit of more than $50 for ev­ery res­i­den­tial cus­tomer, and $16.15 mil­lion will fund low-in­come en­ergy as­sis­tance.

Con­trary to some re­ports, Ex­elon and Pepco strongly sup­port sus­tain­abil­ity and re­new­able en­ergy. We plan to sig­nif­i­cantly ex­pand so­lar en­ergy in the Dis­trict by de­vel­op­ing up to 10 megawatts of new so­lar-power gen­er­a­tion and mak­ing it eas­ier for cus­tomers to go so­lar. We’re of­fer­ing $7 mil­lion to fund re­new­able-en­ergy and en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency pro­grams. We have com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing $10 mil­lion to the Dis­trict’s Green Build­ing Fund, pur­chas­ing 100 megawatts of wind en­ergy and work­ing with the Dis­trict to de­velop at least four mi­cro­grids.

To­gether, we’ll also im­prove re­li­able ser­vice for Pepco cus­tomers — or face sig­nif­i­cant financial penal­ties. Ex­elon crews and resources can be made avail­able to help with storm restoration in the Dis­trict, mean­ing shorter out­ages af­ter se­vere weather. We’ll also hire more union em­ploy­ees and in­vest $5.2 mil­lion in work­force de­vel­op­ment.

The merger will leave Pepco a fi­nan­cially stronger util­ity with more resources, im­proved sta­bil­ity and greater con­tri­bu­tions to the eco­nomic and com­mu­nity growth of the re­gion.

We’d like to clear up some mis­con­cep­tions about cus­tomer rates af­ter the merger. Rates will be lower than they would be with­out the merger, be­cause, in ad­di­tion to the rate cred­its of­fered in the set­tle­ment, bring­ing the com­pa­nies to­gether will re­sult in cost sav­ings that will be passed along to cus­tomers.

Pepco’s rates are set by the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, not by the util­ity. Even af­ter our two com­pa­nies be­come one, the com­mis­sion will con­tinue to reg­u­late Pepco and con­trol its rates. And Pepco will con­tinue to pur­chase power for its cus­tomers the same way — from a va­ri­ety of sup­pli­ers in a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket based on the low­est price. Ex­elon can­not pass on any costs from its power plants or other busi­nesses to Pepco cus­tomers. The com­mis­sion would never al­low that — nor would Ex­elon at­tempt it.

While the merger will en­hance Pepco’s abil­ity to de­liver re­li­able ser­vice, the stakes are high if the merger is not com­pleted. Pepco’s par­ent com­pany, Pepco Hold­ings, would have to con­sider tak­ing ac­tion to ad­dress its financial con­di­tion, in­clud­ing re­ex­am­in­ing its in­fras­truc­ture spend­ing and re­duc­ing ex­penses. Fur­ther, if the merger does not oc­cur, Pepco Hold­ings would have lim­ited resources to pur­sue the Dis­trict’s en­ergy-re­lated goals.

We have a lot to of­fer D.C. res­i­dents and busi­nesses. The merger with Ex­elon is the only way to bring th­ese mean­ing­ful ben­e­fits to this vi­brant city.

We hope that when the com­mis­sion weighs the pros and cons, it will rec­og­nize what many D.C. busi­ness and com­mu­nity lead­ers see and sup­port: that this merger does no harm and of­fers ben­e­fits too sub­stan­tial and valu­able to re­ject.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.