FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Contact:  Jeanne K. Clark

August 25, 1998                                                                                                     412/421-6072


Citizen Power Asks PUC to “Pull the Plug” on

DQE/Allegheny Energy Merger


    Further Considerations Mere Waste of Public’s Money


            Pittsburgh, October 5 -- Citizen Power, the Western Pennsylvania consumer and environmental watchdog group, today called on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to “pull the plug” on the comatose merger between Duquesne Light and Allegheny Energy, given Duquesne Light’s refusal to complete the merger.  This action comes as Duquesne Light yesterday formally rejected the PUC’s July 23rd order permitting the merger to proceed.


David Hughes, Executive Director of Citizen Power said, “It’s time for the PUC to stop wasting the public’s money and everyone’s time on this broken merger attempt.  This proceeding has gone on for over a year, and now the Companies are further apart than ever.  The merger was never a good idea for Western Pennsylvania – now even Duquesne Light admits it.


            “The marriage of Duquesne Light and Allegheny Power simply cannot be saved, no matter how eager Allegheny is to consummate it,” continued Hughes.  “And it’s not up to the PUC to try to hold a shotgun on Duquesne Light to force them to the altar.  Let the Companies themselves work it out or not, on their own terms, by their self-imposed October 5th deadline.”


            In another action, Citizen Power, along with the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG), yesterday filed an appeal of the PUC’s July 23rd merger order to Commonwealth Court.  The appeal claims that the PUC order violated the public’s right to due process, the law establishing electricity restructuring in Pennsylvania, and the facts of the case.


            “From the beginning, Citizen Power said the merger would prevent competition,” continued Hughes.  “The year-long investigation by the PUC clearly proved that we were right:  the merger would cripple competition and hurt consumers.  Yet the PUC, seemingly intent on doing the bidding of Allegheny Energy, ignored these facts and let the merger proceed.  They have repeatedly failed to respond to our objections and requests, so we had no choice but to go to Court to stop them.


            “It’s time – past time, really – for the PUC to let the merger die.  Otherwise, the promise of electric competition remains just one more empty promise, “ concluded Hughes.


Citizen Power is a public policy, research, education and advocacy group, which is an officially designated Public Interest Intervenor in all the Western Pennsylvania cases on electricity restructuring.

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