RG Steel Files Brief in BGE Sale
As a major industrial consumer of gas and electricity, RG Steel Sparrows Point LLC sees no benefit in the deal for itself.
The new owner of the steel mill at Sparrows Point wants the right to intervene in legal proceedings that will examine the proposal to sell BGE to Chicago-based Exelon Corp., according to documents filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission.
Although the legal filing by RG Steel Sparrows Point LLC http://www.rg-steel.com/ does not specifically state that the steel maker will oppose the sale, it does criticize the promoters of the deal for failing to provide any benefits to industrial customers of BGE.
BGE’s parent company, Constellation Energy Group, filed an application with the Public Service Commission (PSC) May 25 asking approval for a sale to Exelon Corp. http://www.exelonconstellationmerger.com/ The PSC is expected to begin active consideration of the $7.9 billion proposal in the fall.
Opposition to the sale has been muted thus far. Last week, however, Maryland’s Office of People’s Counsel, http://www.opc.state.md.us/ a consumer advocacy agency, filed a protest against the sale at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). It also asked for special hearings to examine the merits of the proposal.
People’s Counsel Pamela Carmody told Dundalk Patch that she believes the merger would “adversely affect consumers, although our emphasis is on residential customers, not industrial users.”
Carmody said her office “intends to be very active at both FERC and at the PSC.” The proposed sale “is one of the biggest mergers around” in the utility sector, and should be examined very closely, she said.
By contrast, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has offered qualified support for the transaction. Other political leaders around the state, including Gov. Martin O’Malley, have been largely neutral, or silent.
“As a BGE customer, Sparrows Point has a critical interest in this proceeding,” company general counsel Howard E. Japlon wrote in a June 25 petition to the PSC.
“One searches the Application (in favor of the merger) in vain for any benefits targeted directly to industrial customers,” Japlon continued. “This is a fatal shortcoming.”
Japlon further wrote the PSC should not approve the sale of BGE “without imposing specific conditions that create tangible, direct benefits for all BGE ratepayers, including Sparrows Point.”
RG Steel spokeswoman Bette Kovach told Patch July 25 that the company would have no comment on the case beyond what is contained in the official documents.
She said the company regards the amount it pays for gas and electricity to BGE as a privileged matter, and will not disclose the information to the public.
The PSC has not yet ruled on the RG Sparrows Point petition to intervene in the case. It has approved similar petitions from several other organizations. http://webapp.psc.state.md.us/Intranet/casenum/CaseAction_new.cfm?CaseNumber=9271.