Maryland Gets More Time to Review Constellation-EDF Deal

By Christy Goodman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Maryland Public Service Commission has granted a request by state officials to extend hearings regarding the proposed $4.5 billion investment in Constellation Energy by EDF, a French energy company.

Constellation and EDF had been moving toward a Sept. 17 deadline to complete the deal. But the Maryland Energy Administration and other state agencies had asked for more time to review terms of the proposal.

"The commission cannot and will not compromise the quality of the public interest review of this transaction, and the commission finds that the public interest in a thorough review outweighs the companies' understandable desire to close by September 17th," Terry J. Romine, executive secretary of the commission, said in a statement Thursday.

The commission also approved three public hearings about EDF's investment in Constellation, to be held in Baltimore, Bel Air and Annapolis.

But Constellation officials said Thursday that the commission's review of the transaction has been going on since February and that Constellation, Baltimore Gas & Electric and EDF have produced more than 15,000 pages of documents.

Constellation officials said the company had also provided "unprecedented access to senior corporate officers for hours of depositions and testimony, and submitted numerous briefs and expert testimony."

The company said it had never asked for an extension and had met every deadline set by the commission and other parties.

EDF would use the $4.5 billion to buy part of Constellation's existing U.S. nuclear facilities. Constellation has said the investment is crucial to its plans to build a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby. Plans for that reactor are being reviewed by federal authorities.

In a related matter, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission threw out a complaint last week about Constellation's application for the third reactor, saying that the company has demonstrated its financial ability to decommission the plant at the end of its operational life.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company