District residents have long felt the need for a safety and reliability overhaul from their utility provider, Pepco. Saddled with poor reliability – the consequence of outages caused by any number of culprits from dense tree cover to equipment failures – and an equally dismal customer satisfaction rating, Pepco believes it has found a business cure-all in an impending merger with Exelon.


“There is a focus within Exelon to do really well two things: nuclear plants and urban utilities. If we are going to do it, we measure it,” said Calvin Butler, Exelon’s chief executive officer. “Every day we talk about where we are on the metric by sitting down with the operations team and talking about the previous 24 hours. This is done to drill down those things that impact our numbers and determine how we can improve on a daily basis. We determine those things that feed into it, success, and that is a part of Exelon’s management mode: accountability, responsibility and follow-up.”

While some District residents remain cautious about the merger, some, like Hazel Murry of Northwest,  believe that any corporation that can provide support to the crumbling infrastructure of Pepco, is worth a try. Plagued by a six outages in two years caused by storms and a fire started by Pepco attempting to repair its own wires, Murry, 80, welcomes a change.

“I have had to have trees cut back at my cost, I have had to sit in the dark or cold now more times than I’d like to remember, and the way Pepco has dealt with me is sickening. I have little confidence in the Pepco I’ve known for the last few years. If Exelon can restore my confidence, I’d welcome them,” Murry said.

With BGE, a subsidiary of Exelon, boasting a rank as the second most improved utility in the country for customer satisfaction, the benefits to District residents could prove stellar. “Those improvements did not happen by mistake. There are a lot of hard work practices we put into how we focus on management. Everyone knows their role in the company – who is responsible with performing what tasks and meeting which goals – and we hold each other accountable. No one can hide and no one is trying to,” Butler said.

For those concerned with clean energy, Exelon is also the largest wind producer it the U.S. and boasts the largest urban solar farm on the south side of Chicago. Its subsidiary Constellation has the only urban rooftop on a school – the District’s own Dunbar Senior High School, in Northwest, which produces 25 percent of its energy from the panels.