In his June 27 commentary ("PSC should be skeptical of Constellation-Exelon merger"), Byron Beckford questions whether the pending merger of Constellation Energy with Exelon Corporation will be good for Baltimore. It will.
Since we first began discussions late last year, both companies committed to structure the transaction in a way that best serves our customers and honors Constellation's long history and commitment to Baltimore, and to Maryland. In this regard, we could not have found a better partner than Exelon. Exelon brings with it a reputation as a world-class utility operator with a respected track record for safety and reliability. With the merger, Constellation Energy will become an important pillar of a larger, stronger company that will continue to have substantial operations in the region and a commitment to growing our Baltimore-based business to serve an increasing number of customers across the nation.
Exelon has strong roots in the communities it serves, and it shares Constellation's long history of charitable support and community involvement. We are proud to continue that tradition together by committing not only to sustain for the next 10 years the $10 million that we provide to local charities in communities across the nation, but also to maintain the substantial $7 million share of that giving currently dedicated to charities and institutions in Baltimore and Maryland.
Altogether, the proposed merger includes a package of local benefits valued at more than a quarter of a billion dollars, representing one of the most compelling investments in Maryland in recent history, including:
•New BGE Customer Benefits: Each residential customer would receive a $100 credit within 90 days of the merger's closing, for a total of $112 million. Another $5 million would go to the state's Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP) to help low-income residents with their energy bills. Notably, these benefits would come in the context of rising prices for oil, but falling prices for electricity. Since 2009, the price BGE customers pay for electricity commodity has fallen by 25 percent. And an increasing number of residential customers are saving even more money by switching to one of the many competitive energy suppliers offering customer choice in Maryland.
•New Headquarters: Our commercial and renewable energy businesses would be consolidated in Baltimore in a new or renovated building that meets state-of-the-art Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. This would result in millions of dollars of new investment and lead to the relocation of jobs to Baltimore to support our growing business.
•New Investment in Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Electric Vehicles: We would provide $4 million to support the objectives of the EmPower Maryland Energy Efficiency Act and $10 million to spur the use of electric vehicles in Maryland, and we propose to develop 25 megawatts of new renewable energy in the state.
Through this dynamic partnership and these proposed investments, Constellation and Exelon will deliver better energy choices, good jobs, and help build a stronger Baltimore for years to come.
James L. Connaughton, Baltimore
The writer is Constellation Energy's executive vice president for corporate affairs, public and environmental policy.