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Constellation shareholders vote against Shattuck’s pay package

Constellation Energy Group Inc.’s shareholders have voiced their concerns about the Baltimore energy company’s management as part of their decision to vote against pay packages proposed for Chief Executive Mayo A. Shattuck III and other top executives.

While the vote was advisory — Constellation’s board is not required to change anything based on the results — it is reflective of shareholders’ sentiment about the company and its management’s performance in recent years.

“I am disappointed in the company and its management,” said former state Sen. Julian L. “Jack” Lapides, who said he has been a shareholder for 40 years but had never attended a shareholders’ meeting until Friday.

“As far as the merger [with Exelon Corp., Constellation] couldn’t be run any worse, so I’ll approve that,” he said.

Lapides’ remarks at Constellation’s annual meeting drew applause, and he was among a few shareholders at the meeting who said the company had been run poorly.

Protestors against Shattuck’s compensation, from the group Good Jobs Better Baltimore, stood outside Constellation’s building at 750 E. Pratt St. and handed out fliers to passersby.

“We make mistakes,” Shattuck said. “You try to work with the cards you have.”

Shattuck also said he was committed to running the company even after the merger.

Shattuck’s total compensation last year was $15.7 million, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was up from $10.9 million in 2009.

The company also announced at its annual meeting that it will acquire Houston-based StarTex Power for $142.5 million. The electricity company has 170,000 customers, bringing Constellation Energy closer to its goal of serving 1 million residential customers by the end of this year.

Constellation also recently announced it will buy MXenergy of Connecticut for $175 million. The deal will give Constellation access to deregulated power markets in 15 states and two Canadian provinces where MXenergy supplies gas and electric to more than 540,000 residential and small commercial customers.

The acquisitions are important to being competitive in the residential customer market, the company said.

Constellation is also in the middle of selling itself to Chicago-based Exelon Corp. for $7.9 billion. The company filed an application with Maryland’s Public Service Commission Wednesday seeking approval for the sale.

The Public Service Commission is expected to hold hearings to examine the deal. It has 180 days under state law to make a decision.

The deal, announced April 28, would create the largest power supplier in the U.S.

The combined company would be called Exelon and would be headquartered in Chicago. But the Constellation name would live on in the new company’s power marketing and retail and wholesale businesses, which would be headquartered in Baltimore. The companies’ renewable energy businesses would also be consolidated and based in Baltimore.

The companies have already sought approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the New York State Public Service Commission and the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Shareholders of both companies also must approve the deal.

Also in the meeting, Constellation executives said residential customers will start seeing an 11 percent decline in their bills, starting in June.

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