The proposed $6.8 billion merger of Exelon Corp. and Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) was given a thumbs-up by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC authorized the proposed merger and disposition of assets under section 203 of the Federal Power Act as consistent with the public interest. The item was on the Commission’s consent agenda for its Thursday meeting. The merger, which would create the top Mid-Atlantic electric and gas utility with close to 10 million customers, will combine Exelon's three electric and gas utilities -- Chicago's Commonwealth Edison Co., Baltimore's BGE and Philadelphia's PECO -- and PHI's three electric and gas utilities -- New Jersey's Atlantic City Electric, Delaware's Delmarva Power and Washington, DC and Maryland's Pepco (see Daily GPI, April 30). The buyout is the first major transaction for Exelon since completing an $8 billion merger in 2012 with Constellation Energy (see Daily GPI, May 24, 2011). The merger is expected to close in mid-2015.