The Baltimore Sun

Md. politicians cost Constellation billions

I am an employee and shareholder of Constellation Energy Group. And the news that MidAmerican Energy Holdings will buy my stock and my employer for $26.50 per share leaves me very disappointed but not speechless ("Collateral, credit crunch took down Constellation," Sept. 19).

By all accounts, this sale was necessitated by the liquidity constraints of the failing credit market. However, the question must be asked: How could management not have planned for such an event?

Well, two years ago Constellation's CEO, Mayo A. Shattuck III, negotiated a $12 billion merger with FPL Group, largely based on Constellation's need to diversify its energy portfolio, become a national company and gain further access to capital markets to sustain its business plan.

I thought the deal was great. Unfortunately, Gov. Martin O'Malley thought he knew better than the CEO of Constellation. Many members of the General Assembly in Annapolis thought they knew better as well.

The deal worth $12 billion was killed, and Constellation was left looking for another strategic partner.

EDF, the state-owned utility of France, was brought in as a partner. But the ultimate business partner was not found - until Thursday, when a Warren E. Buffett-owned company offered $4.7 billion for the company.

In two years, since the Maryland legislature pushed FPL back to Florida, Constellation lost almost $8 billion of the equity that would have been in the FPL deal.

That's $8 billion lost by shareholders - not ratepayers, not taxpayers, but shareholders.

So Constellation planned for an event such as this. Unfortunately, Maryland's politicians did not.

Thank you, Mr. O'Malley and all those in the Maryland legislature who blocked the FPL deal.

Let's see how well you do in bringing new business enterprises to the formerly great state of Maryland.

Edward Bielarski Jr., Allentown

A chance to create a new public utility

If Gov. Martin O'Malley really wanted to stand up for the consumers of Maryland, he would have the vision to see the pending sale of Constellation Energy Group for what it is - a perfect opportunity to create a utility that does not gamble with ratepayers money, is not subject to the vagaries of the "free market" and does what it's supposed to do: produce and sell gas and electricity at rates that reflect the real cost of producing them plus a reasonable profit for reinvestment ("Collateral, credit crunch took down Constellation," Sept. 19).

That's what Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. was before deregulation, and that's what it could be again.

Where are our politicians on this issue?

Will they finally stand up for the people of this state?

Maria Allwine, Baltimore

The writer is a co-chairwoman of the Maryland Green Party and a member of the Maryland Coalition to Stop the BGE Rate Hikes.

Deregulators leave taxpayers on hook

First, the Bush administration allows the energy companies to write our national energy policy. Gas goes from $1.40 per gallon to $3.60 or more per gallon, leading to record profits for those same energy companies.

Then the administration allows Wall Street to run amok, claiming that government intervention is wrong in a capitalist economy. Now, when those chickens come home to roost, that same Bush administration steps in with the mother of all government interventions ("Congress weighs bank aid," Sept. 19).

We the taxpayers will now be on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts to the same private businesses whose actions have caused this crisis.

I shudder to think what other disasters this incompetent president will cause before his departure from office.

Robert S. Abramson, Linthicum

Hackers merited more attention

The hacking of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's e-mail account should have all of us outraged, no matter our political leanings.

The fact that an ad for a kitchen furnishings company on the front page of Thursday's paper was larger than the article about the hacking on Page 16A ("Hackers break into Palin's e-mail account," Sept. 18) can only be termed a disgrace.

Linda S. Johnson, Arnold

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