After circulating a tentative agreement with Pepco and Exelon on Friday, Muriel Bowser settled with the power companies and backed Exelon’s takeover of Pepco.
In an afternoon press conference, Bowser touted an increased investment from Pepco and Exelon in the new settlement—-up to $78 million from $14 million. Bowser’s settlement gives the companies more support for their appeal of the Public Service Commission’s initial denial of their merger.
“The District kept the conversations with Pepco and Exelon alive because we knew we had to do better for our city,” said Bowser, who initially supported the PSC’s rejection.
Among other things, the $78 million will go towards conserving natural resources, sustainability, and improving power reliability, according to Bowser. $25 million will be put in a fund to keep electricity rates for residential payers in the District frozen until 2019. Bowser also touted a jobs package with Exelon, which requires the company to move 100 jobs to the city.
Bowser won over some merger interveners, including Attorney General Karl Racine and People’s Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye. Mattavous-Frye, who initially opposed the merger, declared today that Pepco and Exelon had “made major concessions.”
Still, Bowser’s settlement hasn’t won over all the merger’s opponents. Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who said she had to “muffle a laugh” at one condition of the merger, said the benefits of the $78 million payment would eventually be outweighed by future rate increases.
The $78 million, Cheh said, amounted to “that paltry promise of beads and blankets that they give us for the island”—-an apparent reference to the mythical sale of Manhattan Island for beads.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery