N.y. Psc Approves Constellation Nuclear Deal

April 22, 2009|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,hanah.cho@baltsun.com

Constellation Energy Group's pending $4.5 billion deal to sell half of its nuclear power business to France's largest utility is one step closer to completion.

The New York State Public Service Commission approved the acquisition Tuesday, saying that "no potential for harm exists" regarding market power or other negative effects for New York ratepayers.

Besides Calvert Cliffs in Lusby, Constellation also owns Nine Mile Point Nuclear Unit I and II in Oswego, N.Y., and R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Ontario, N.Y.

The approval by New York energy regulators is the latest regulatory hurdle the Baltimore company has cleared since agreeing to the deal with Electricite de France.

In doing so, Constellation scrapped an earlier agreement it had reached with billionaire Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. in September when Constellation faced a liquidity crisis.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission endorsed the transaction in February.

Federal law prohibits full ownership or control of a U.S. nuclear plant by a foreign entity.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States recently gave its approval, concluding that there were no unresolved national security concerns.

The deal also needs approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

And the Maryland Public Service Commission is expected to hold a hearing Monday to explore whether the deal would have substantial influence over Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., the region's regulated utility and a subsidiary of Constellation.

The outcome of the PSC's inquiry could determine whether the transaction requires the panel's approval.

Constellation wants to close the deal by the end of the third quarter.

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