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As Pepco-Exelon Deal Enters Review Period, Opponents See Chance To Fight

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Environmentalists protest the Pepco-Exelon merger during a march in Franklin Square late last year.
Stephen Melkisethian: https://flic.kr/p/zU1wAf
Environmentalists protest the Pepco-Exelon merger during a march in Franklin Square late last year.

Opponents of the Pepco-Exelon merger are asking D.C. regulators to reconsider their decision to approve the deal.

The D.C. Public Service Commission's vote last week to approve the merger caught many off guard, in part because so many entities involved in the deal opposed it, including several D.C. agencies.

Now it looks like at least one of these groups is filing a legal challenge to the merger, adding at least a level of uncertainty to Exelon's takeover of Pepco, which would affect electric utility customers throughout D.C. and in parts of the Maryland suburbs.

Clean-energy group Grid 2.0 took advantage of a 30-day review period earlier this week, filing a formal request for reconsideration, citing flaws in the merger.

And on Tuesday, a D.C. government official also said she's "seriously considering" filing for reconsideration.

"I do have some major concerns about the process throughout the case," said Sandra Mattavous Frye, the D.C. people's counsel, on WAMU 88.5's The Kojo Nnamdi Show on Tuesday. "You really didn't know what to expect or how the commission came to its determination."

Frye says she opposes the commission's merger agreement because it took out guaranteed benefits for residential rate-payers that were part of an earlier proposal.

The commission found those benefits were unfair to the other customers in D.C. that pay for electricity, namely the federal government and commercial building owners.

If the commission chooses to go forward with the merger — and dismiss these requests to reconsider — opponents would still be able file an appeal at the D.C. Court of Appeals.

In other words, the long-running bid by Illinois-based Exelon to merge with Pepco isn't done yet.

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