Exelon agrees settle claim over Constellation merger-court filing

Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:01pm EST

Nov 14 (Reuters) - Exelon Corp agreed to pay $400,000 to settle U.S. claims it violated a court order entered to receive government clearance of its acquisition of Constellation Energy Group Inc last year, prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday.

Exelon allegedly submitted offers to sell electricity at rates higher than limits imposed by the order, the U.S. Justice Department said in a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Exelon called the above-cost offers "inadvertent," the court filing said. The company took steps to remedy the issue, including by notifying regulators and agreeing to return any revenues it earned from the increases, the filing said.

But the Justice Department said Exelon also failed to take "all steps necessary" steps to comply with the order. That failure, the government said, was not addressed by Exelon's remedial efforts.

"The settlement remedies this violation and unjust enrichment by depriving Exelon of ill-gotten gains," the Justice Department said in the filing.

Paul Elsberg, a spokesman for Exelon, did not respond to a request for comment after normal business hours.

The court order Exelon allegedly violated was entered in a lawsuit the Justice Department filed in December 2011 contending that the company's $7.9 billion acquisition of Constellation Energy would lessen competition for wholesale electricity.

The Justice Department announced a settlement agreement at the same time as the lawsuit, allowing the merger to go forward on certain conditions.

The case is U.S. v. Exelon Corporation, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, No. 11-02276.

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