Exelon is the country’s largest electric holding company, having closed its contentious $6.8 billion takeover of Pepco Holdings in March 2016 after months of haggling with regulators that forced it to sweeten the deal with $430 million in exceptional payments. Exelon, which was born out of a merger in 2000 between Unicom and PECO, operates 23 nuclear reactors across the Northeast and Midwest. These represent some 60% of its generating capacity (the rest is either fossil fuel-burning or renewable) and were the main source of its earnings until collapsing oil prices and subsidies for renewables started to undermine wholesale power prices. (In May 2017 for example, it announced that it would prematurely close its Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania a victim of the natural gas shale boom.) The costs for nuclear decommissioning are likely to rise in the medium- to long-term. Against this backdrop, the company is looking to source up to half of its profits from regulated businesses operating grids and serving end consumers (as with the Pepco deal), seeing these as a more stable source of income.
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