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Atlantic City Electric Intends to Improve Service with Exelon Merger

Atlantic City Electric (ACE), which serves 545,000 customers and employs 800 people, plans on keeping both its name and its reputation with the community when it merges with Exelon Corporation — the largest nuclear power generator in the nation.

Exelon’s name will ultimately be added to the South Jersey utility company.

Exelon — a Chicago-based utility company — and Pepco Holdings Inc. announced the $6.8 billion merger last April and filed an application with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities last Wednesday.

Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) is a Washington D.C.-based parent company of Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and Pepco.

Officials expect the merger to be approved by mid-2015.

“We think the deal makes sense for Exelon and Atlantic City Electric, obviously, and the other PHI utilities,” said Amy Trojecki, director of corporate affairs at Exelon.

Through the merger, the utility companies want to improve reliability to the customers by cutting down on the frequency of outages for customers and the duration of those outages.

This is especially true during weather events, where Atlantic City Electric previously had to depend on outside line crews to restore power during emergency situations.

“Being part of a bigger family, we now have the resources from other utilities that are very close to us,” said Vince Maione, president of Atlantic City Electric.

Exelon commits to improving the reliability of the electrical service by 33 percent, according to Trojecki, by sharing best practices between the two companies. This includes tree trimming practices, ideas on building distribution systems, frequency of repairing equipment and maintenance schedules.

Atlantic City Electric will maintain its Mays Landing headquarters and community presence, according to Maione, even after the merger.

“We’ve built a lot of good relationships and I think a lot of the organizations that we’ve given to very much appreciate, and also have tremendously valued, the contributions that our company — Atlantic City Electric and PHI — have done,” Maione said.

Many of those organizations — including United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey, American Red Cross South Jersey Region and the Southern New Jersey Development Council — provided letters in the application in favor of the merger.

As part of its application to the Board of Public Utilities, Exelon has promised to even invest $100 million into a customer investment fund — with $29 million of that fund going directly to South Jersey.

The use of these funds will be determined by the Board of Public Utilities and could be used for assisting low-income families or energy efficiency programs.

Also in the application is a letter of recommendation from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 210, which have worked with Atlantic City Electric for 70 years.

Atlantic City Electric has an agreement with Local 210 and Local 1238 to extend contracts for another three years. Non-union employees will keep their contracts for two years and Maione will continue as president.

“As far as Atlantic City Electric utility employees, we don’t expect any job losses there,” Trojecki said. “Both companies are committed to local presence, local jobs and local leadership.”

Utility officials also plan on keeping its call center in Carneys Point intact, but some adjustments may be made.

With its application to the Board of Public Utilities, Maione and Trojecki are optimistic about the state approving the merger.

Along with New Jersey, Exelon requires approval in the other states that PHI is involved in — Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Applications must also be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of Justice.

These applications have been filed everywhere but in Maryland, where Exelon and Pepco Holdings Inc. are waiting until August to accommodate witnesses for the hearings.

Continuing as president of Atlantic City Electric, Maione is going to continue his focus in South Jersey.

“Our leadership in New Jersey is still going to be here to work with communities to make sure we grow as South Jersey,” he said. “With Exelon’s backing, I think we’ll be an even stronger organization that can do even more for our customers in South Jersey.”