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Remember The Name "exelon"

It could be a good first test of whether the Obama administration really is all that different. From a Politico piece about Rahm Emanuel's short but lucrative i-banking career:

One signature transaction was the $16 billion merger of Unicom Corp. and PECO Energy Co. into Exelon Corp., now one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, with nearly $19 billion in annual revenue. The company owns 17 nuclear reactors, which produce about 20 percent of the nation’s nuclear power.


The merger created a job for John Rowe, the CEO of Unicom who went on to become CEO of the merged company, Exelon. And Emanuel and Rowe have remained personally friendly.

After the Nov. 4 election, Emanuel was shopping in a bookstore when he called Rowe on his cell phone, asking for guidance on whether he should take the top White House staff job, according to The Washington Post.

Emanuel’s elevation to the White House comes at a pivotal time for the company he helped create. Exelon is now involved in a hostile takeover bid for the assets of NRG Energy, which would create the nation’s largest power company. NRG rejected Exelon’s initial bid of more than $6 billion, calling the offer too low.

The deal potentially faces a host of regulatory and government approvals, and industry insiders will be watching to see that Exelon is treated fairly by the Obama administration.

Donors affiliated with Exelon gave Obama’s presidential campaign more than $197,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“The Obama administration seems to be trying to set a high ethical standard,” said Sue Kelly, vice president of policy analysis and general counsel at the American Public Power Association. “We’d want to make sure that this merger received the close scrutiny that it deserves.”

One question: how much do you think Unicom and PECO paid some consultant to come up with the name Exelon? That is one sinister name. Combine that with the 17 nuclear reactors and the CEO's friendship with Rahmbo, and that's one electric utility you don't want to get on the bad side of. I'm impressed NRG had the guts to reject their bid.

--Jason Zengerle