The Star-Ledger

Ganging Up On Merger

The Star-Ledger — Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Star-Ledger Staff

The proposed acquisition of Public Service Enterprise Group by Chicago-based Exelon is making for some strange bedfellows in New Jersey.

A diverse array of organizations, most of whom have already intervened in the case, are scheduled today to announce a coalition challenging the $12 billion deal.

The coalition will include the New Jersey Large Energy Users, a group of big industrial manufacturers, the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, Utility Workers Union Local 601, New Jersey Citizen Action, the Chemistry Council of New Jersey, the NAACP Voter Fund and the Service Employees Union.

Typically, NJPIRG and the New Jersey Chemistry Council find themselves on opposite poles of an issue in Trenton.

Not this time, however. They fear the deal, which would create the nation's biggest utility company and largest power producer, would have the ability to manipulate power prices at a time when consumers already are facing skyrocketing energy bills.

"Exelon will have an incredible amount of market power, which could allow the company to charge consumers unnecessarily high rates on their electricity bills," said Suzanne Leta, clean energy advocate for NJPIRG.

The transaction still needs to be approved by the state Board of Public Utilities, which has scheduled hearings on the case early next year. PSEG, based in Newark, and Exelon are hoping to close the deal sometime next year.

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