Pepco-Exelon merger disputed in DC appeals court

The D.C. Public Services Commission rejected the proposed merger between Pepco and Exelon in August. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

WASHINGTON — Opponents of the deal that led to the Pepco-Exelon merger went to court to argue that regulators made the wrong call in allowing the $6 billion deal to go through.

In oral arguments before the D.C. Court of Appeals, Scott Strauss, arguing on behalf of D.C.’s Office of the People’s Counsel, told judges that the three-member Public Service Commission didn’t give residents adequate notice or an opportunity to be heard in the final stages of the Pepco-Exelon merger case.

“The process the commission used to decide this important proceeding was unfair to the District of Columbia ratepayers,” he told the court.

Attorney David Arkush, arguing on behalf of Public Citizen and the clean-energy group DC SUN, told judges that Pepco-Exelon merger opponents had no reason to believe the PSC would agree to Exelon’s request in the merger case, because a settlement had twice been rejected by the PSC.

“Why shouldn’t we conclude that you predicted — and lost?” one judge asked Arkush.

“There is absolutely no reason why the parties would have expected the agency to actually just grant Exelon’s request without any further notice,” he responded.

PSC attorney Richard Herskovitz argued that there had been enough notice given in the case and that merger opponents did not ask for additional time when the PSC was considering the order.

“None of them said we need further process,” said Herskovitz, who added that none of them objected at the time the PSC was considering the merger.

The D.C. Public Service Commission approved the merger back in March of 2016. The Court of Appeals could vacate the PSC’s approval of the merger, it could order changes to the conditions, or it could do nothing.

It’s not clear exactly when the court will issue a ruling in the case.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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