Exelon would expand Harford footprint with acquisition of Delmarva Power

Exelon's planned acquisition of Pepco Holdings and its Delmarva Power subsidiary, announced Wednesday, will give Exelon control of the electric power market in Harford and widen the company's position as the county's largest taxpayer.

Chicago-based Exelon, which owns Baltimore Gas & Electric Company, a regulated utility, and Constellation Power Source Generation, has a huge economic presence in Harford County, both in terms of its properties and the service it provides local homes and businesses.

Jim Richardson, economic development director for Harford County, said he is encouraged by the merger news because of the "great relationship" Exelon has with Harford.

"I personally believe Exelon has a very good corporate culture," Richardson said Thursday.

The $6.9 billion merger of the two electric power generators and suppliers must still jump a number of regulatory hurdles in the states served by Pepco and in Washington, D.C.

If approved, the merger would put both Harford County power providers under the same corporate umbrella, which Richardson said he hopes would ultimately benefit local customers.

"I'm certainly hopeful that it is a cost-saving move by expanding the footprint of the company...theoretically, we should see some benefits from economies of scale," he explained.

Richardson also noted BGE customers have more programs to help them save energy and protect the environment, compared to Delmarva customers.

"My hope would be that we would see the number of programs for consumer green initiatives increase under Exelon leadership," he said.

The Exelon BGE subsidiary has 100,979 residential and business customers in Harford, according to its website, and its transmission facilities and other equipment and properties were assessed for tax purposes at $329 million in 2012, according to the county's fiscal 2013 annual financial report.

Exelon Generation Company owns and operates the Conowingo Hydroelectric Plant and dam on the Susquehanna River in northeastern Harford, which was assessed at $81 million in 2012. Constellation Power Source Generation, another Exelon subsidiary, owns a generation plant fueled by natural gas in Perryman that was assessed at $49 million. The Perryman plant is undergoing a $122 million expansion.

The three Exelon units paid a combined $11,859,192 in corporate property taxes to Harford County in fiscal 2013, according to the county.

Pepco's Delmarva Power subsidy serves 5,421 customers in northeastern Harford County, according to the company's website, and 45,492 in all of Cecil County. The company also serves the other eight Eastern Shore counties and the state of Delaware.

Delmarva was ranked as Harford County's fourth biggest taxpayer in 2013, behind BGE, Exelon Generation and Verizon. According to the county financial report, Delmarva's Harford transmission facilities and properties were asses at $49.9 million, and the company paid $1,298,000 in county taxes.

Richardson noted Delmarva officials made a series of improvements to their Harford County power lines about five years ago.

Pepco also supplies electricity to Washington, D.C., and some of its Maryland suburbs and owns Atlantic City Electric in New Jersey. The three utilities have a combined 2 million customers.

Exelon has 10 million customers in the Chicago area, central Pennsylvania and Maryland, with BGE serving 1.26 million customers.

Together Exelon and Pepco have more than 30,000 employees. Annual revenues for the companies are $24.9 billion and $4.7 billion, respectively.

The Baltimore Sun and Aegis staff member Allan Vought contributed to this report.

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