Five Things Exelon and Pepco Agreed to Provide Montgomery County as Part of Merger Deal
Bill credits and new recreation trails were included in county’s approval of the merger between Chicago-based Exelon and the local utility Pepco
Pepco and Exelon announced Wednesday they had completed their merger, just hours after Washington, D.C., regulators agreed to approve the union of the power companies.
The merger of the Chicago-based utility and Pepco had been the subject of tumultuous negotiations with District officials for the past few months. D.C. was the last jurisdiction that had to agree to the merger after regulators in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia approved it in previous years.
Now that the merger has been completed, Montgomery County should expect a number of items the two utilities promised to provide as part of a deal to get the county's support for the merger, which were detailed in the 2015 settlement agreement with the Maryland Public Service Commission.
Here are five of those items:
1. An estimated $50 bill credit per customer
The funds for the bill credits will come from the $36.8 million the utilities committed to fund bill credits for Pepco and Delmarva Power customers in Maryland.
2. New recreational trails along utility line corridors
Local recreation activists pressed for the inclusion of new trails running along power line corridors in the county and the idea was included as part of the companies’ agreement with Maryland’s Public Service Commission. The shared-use path along the transmission line corridors has the potential to connect major attractions such as the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown and Westfield Montgomery mall in Bethesda to residential areas with an off-road trail network, according to pedestrian advocate and Bethesda resident John Wetmore. Pepco spokesperson Myra Oppel told Bethesda Beat last year the planning for the trails wouldn’t begin until after the merger is complete. At the time, the utility said in the settlement agreement it would pay for “reasonable costs associated” with the project, but only if it is able to recover the funds from regulated rates. If the utility can’t obtain the funds from the rates, it would pay for design costs and then work with the county to find funds to build the trail, according to the agreement.
3. A portion of the $57.6 million designated for energy-efficiency programs
The funds will be split between Prince George’s and Montgomery counties to fund energy-efficiency programs designated by the counties and Maryland’s Public Service Commission. At least 20 percent of the total funds, according to the utilities, will be used to help make energy-efficiency improvements to residences of low- and moderate-income customers to help lower their energy bills.
4. Development of 5 megawatts of solar power
The new utility says it will develop a solar generation system capable of generating 5 megawatts of solar power in the county as part of a larger plan to develop solar power systems that generate 15 megawatts of power in the state. One megawatt of solar power is capable of powering about 164 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
5. Commitment to make reliability improvements
The utility says that by 2018 it will achieve first-quartile performance—or approximately in the top 25 percent—in power reliability compared to its peers. County officials, notably County Council member Roger Berliner, pressed for reliability standards to be part of the merger agreement, although he criticized the county’s deal with the utility.