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Exelon Settles U.S. Allegations Over Constellation Merger

Exelon Corp. agreed to pay the U.S. $400,000 to settle allegations it violated a court order limiting prices for electricity as part of an agreement approving its $7.9 billion acquisition of Constellation Energy Group Inc.

Exelon allegedly submitted offers to sell electricity at prices higher than those allowed by the order and failed “to take all the steps necessary to comply” with the court’s instructions, according to a filing by the Justice Department today in federal court in Washington.

Exelon, the largest U.S. nuclear plant operator, claimed the alleged violations resulted from “inadvertent errors” and agreed to settle the U.S. claims “without any admission or determination of wrongdoing,” according to a stipulation filed by the department. The company cooperated with a probe by the department’s antitrust division, the government said.

Exelon announced the takeover of Baltimore-based Constellation in April 2011. The department in December filed a lawsuit allowing the acquisition to go forward as long as Exelon agreed to certain terms, including the sale of three electricity-generating plants in Maryland. A federal judge approved the agreement in May.

“We are disappointed this error occurred,” Lawrence McDonnell, a spokesman for Chicago-based Exelon, said in a phone interview. “We take full responsibility for our actions. The mistake resulted in little impact on market participants or Maryland customers.”

He said the company identified the bidding error and notified federal and state regulators.

The case is U.S. v. Exelon Corp., 11-cv-02276, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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