Baltimore, MD – Today, Food & Water Watch sent a letter to the Maryland Public Service Commission (MPSC), opposing the proposed merger of Exelon Corporation and Pepco Holdings Inc., and asking the commission to block the merger. The MPSC approval is one of several sought by the companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. Granting approval would have negative consequences for electricity customers throughout the region. Considering the political ramifications of such a merger, it would also be a major blow to democracy.
“Exelon currently enjoys tremendous influence in Congress,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “This merger will only serve to increase the company’s already significant buying power in Congress. Given Exelon’s current reliance on polluting technologies, it is likely to use its considerable influence to continue advocating for the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power, rather than moving the nation down the path to a renewable future.
A merger of this magnitude would give Exelon nearly complete control of the energy market from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., giving the energy giant ownership of Atlantic City Electric and Delmarva Power, in addition to Pepco. Exelon already owns BGE and Peco in the Mid-Atlantic, along with ComEd in Illinois. The merger would add 1,845,000 Mid-Atlantic electricity customers to Exelon’s existing 2,800,000 electricity customers in the region.
But the biggest impact Exelon’s purchase would be its increased lobbying power. Exelon is already one of the largest donors to political campaigns in the country with nearly $1.5 million in contributions, putting the company in the top one percent in the nation. Exelon has spent over $8.2 million to lobby the 113thCongress, placing it in the top three percent of companies lobbying Congress.
Exelon’s unchecked political influence puts the company in conflict with the idea of pushing toward a sustainable energy future. The company has been a major opponent renewing the federal wind energy tax credit. In addition, Exelon has shown a desire to rapidly expand its electricity generation from natural gas. An increasing share of the natural gas burned in electricity generation is extracted using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fracking is an inherently dangerous process that puts at risk both public and environmental health. Exelon has shown itself to lack a commit to a truly renewable and sustainable energy future.