The Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and the Potomac Electric Power Co. have tentatively settled on Chesapeake Power Co. as the name for their merged company, according to a internal BGE memorandum.
The proposed name takes into account the two utilities' shared geography near the Chesapeake Bay and serves as a generic moniker unlikely to offend either shareholders or regulators in Baltimore or Washington.
Last week, BGE and Pepco announced plans for a corporate marriage that would create the nation's ninth-largest utility, with more than $15 billion in assets when completed in March 1997.
The two companies so far have determined that the Chesapeake name would be allowed in both Washington and Virginia, the BGE memo said.
But in Maryland, the ability of BGE/PEPCO to use the name is unclear.
That's because the name Chesapeake Power Inc. was registered in Maryland in July 1992 by Jeffrey Eckel of Chestertown. But since October 1994, the state declared the name "forfeited" because the company had failed to file proper documents, according to state records.
Mr. Eckel disputed the company's status and said the independent power plant development firm was "active."
"I'm not emotionally tied to the name forever and ever," Mr. Eckel said.
The BGE memo acknowledged that the name had been previously registered and that the company intends to contact Mr. Eckel in the near future.
The Chesapeake Power Co. name also could conflict with a small Salisbury citizens' gas cooperative known as Chesapeake Utilities Corp., which also maintains operations in Delaware.
Such a resemblance has been permitted in other states.
Most notably, Florida Power & Light and Florida Power Co. both provide power to the Sunshine State, but they are owned by different parent firms.
"We're not going to speculate on future names," said BGE spokesman Arthur J. Slusark yesterday.
Nancy Moses, a PEPCO spokeswoman, also declined to comment on the Chesapeake name but said that "several names are under review."