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After the D.C. Public Service Commission voted today to again reject Exelon’s takeover of Pepco today, opponents of the merger cheered. But the excitement may prove premature. After rejecting the deal, the PSC then voted to offer a new one that could finally clear the way for the merger.

In its first vote, the PSC voted 2-1 to again reject the deal. That came even though Exelon has won over more stakeholders, including Muriel Bowser and the Office of the People’s Counsel, since the PSC last rejected the merger in August.

Opposing the merger, PSC member Betty Ann Kane said there was no evidence Pepco couldn’t keep running without the purchase from Chicago-based Exelon. A merger, Kane said, would leave the PSC “forever playing whack-a-mole” to enforce the terms of the deal on Exelon.  

The merger isn’t dead yet, though. In another 2-1 vote, the PSC voted to propose an amended merger agreement that, among other changes, includes new provisions about solar power. Exelon and Pepco have 14 days to decide whether they’ll agree to the new deal.

Pepco spokesman Vincent Morris says the company will review the new terms. But merger opponents in the PowerDC coalition struck a gloomy tone on the lifeline extended to Pepco and Exelon.

“[The PSC’s] 14 day last chance fix-it proposal is a band-aid on a problem that cannot be fixed,” the group said in a statement. “This is an extremely disappointing outcome for the District of Columbia and our entire region.”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery