Delco Speaks Out on PECO Merger


This story interested me personally since my father had over 40 years of service as an electrical engineer when he retired from Exelon Power (previously PECO Energy) a few years ago. Over time, I was able to see the changes that resulted from the merger this article covers.

I collaborated with the business editor on this story, and did the interviewing at the public hearing.

Delaware County residents had an opportunity last night to voice their approval or objections to a Public Utility Commission judge on the pending merger between PECO Energy Co. and Unicom Corp. that would create the largest electric utility in the nation.

Yet only a few residents, judging by the 25 or so people who attended the public hearing, could get charged up about the utility’s plans, despite the fact that the new company will become a big player in the industry.

Kenneth Kolaczyk, a power generation worker for 17 years, was one of them.

Kolaczyk, who opposed the merger, said he felt there would be significant job losses here, and there is very little efficiency that can be gained.

“Clearly this merger is not in the public interest,” Kolaczyk said.

If the merger is approved, the utilities with form a Chicago-based holding company to be named Exelon Corp. The company will have five million customers, revenues of $12 billion, a market value of $15.2 billion, and a combined work force of 22,500 employees.

And the consolidation, as in all markers, will cost jobs – in this case, 1,100 existing jobs between the two companies.

Exelon Corp. will be the nation’s fourth-largest power generator, with a generation portfolio of more than 22,500 megawatts. Based on current equity market values, the new company will rank third in the industry with a market capitalization of $15.2 billion.

PECO sees the deal as a “merger of equals and a perfect fit as well as a necessity to position itself to compete on a grand scale.”

PECO has said that it didn’t have the size to be competitive in a national marketplace. Its thinking is that the combined company provides scale, scope and resources in an increasingly competitive energy marketplace. Generating capacity and the ability to move power around will become critical to become competitive.

The holding company will distinctively delineate the different parts of the business, clearly separating the distribution, generation and competitive unregulated ventures, according to PECO.

The Philadelphia region will house the generation and power trading headquarters, and PECO’s chairman and chief executive officer Corbin McNeil will oversee that business. Read more…

Reprinted with permission from the Delaware County Daily Times.