U.S. utilities end merger plans, hydro divestiture

Exelon Corp. announced Sept. 14 it is terminating its planned $17.7 billion takeover of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. That announcement followed the companies’ failure to reach an agreement with New Jersey regulators looking for concessions from the utilities.

Exelon presented PSEG formal notice of termination of the merger agreement they had announced in December 2004. The utilities said they have agreed to withdraw their application for merger approval, pending before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for more than 19 months. Exelon and PSEG said gaps between the New Jersey board’s settlement position and their own were insurmountable on issues such as what rates customers would pay and how many power plants the combined company would control.

In an attempt to spur approval of their merger, Exelon and PSEG in 2005 had announced an offer to divest additional generating capacity, including three large hydropower projects totaling more than 1,800 MW. (HNN 6/14/05)

Hydropower assets at one time identified as eligible for divestiture were: Exelon’s 536-MW Conowingo (No. 405) project in Maryland and 880-MW Muddy Run (No. 2355) project in Maryland; and PSEG’s 400-MW Yards Creek (No. 2309) project in New Jersey.

The merger plan received approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Justice Department, and several state regulatory agencies before it ran out of steam before New Jersey regulators.

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