Meet Calvin G. Butler Jr., CEO of America’s largest utility company with $20B in annual revenue

BY Preta Peace Namasaba November 11, 2023 5:32 PM EDT
Calvin G. Butler Jr. Photo credit: Morgan State University

Calvin G. Butler Jr. is the President and CEO of Exelon, where he oversees a network of six local electric and natural gas companies. These entities form the nation’s largest utility company by customer count, serving approximately 10 million electric and gas customers.

“What I want to do is to maintain the integrity, the reliability, resiliency of the grid, ensure it’s going to be affordable for my customers and help them all get to that energy transition in an equitable manner. So if I’m truly representing my customers, I have to be that voice for them in the halls of the legislature at the state, local and federal level.”

Calvin G. Butler Jr. in  Utility Dive

Butler was born and raised in St. Louis and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and political science from Bradley University. He then studied law at Washington University in St. Louis where he focused on corporate and environmental law. He entered the natural gas sector at a time when environmental law was taking off.

He joined CILCORP, a utility holding company as a staff attorney at a time when the company had just purchased an environmental consulting company which advanced his involvement with environmental law. Butler later worked as Director, Government Affairs at Central Illinois Light Company and then served as Senior Vice President External Affairs & President of the RR Donnelley Foundation for nine years.

Butler joined ComEd, an Exelon company in 2008. He served as Vice President Governmental & Legislative Affairs and Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs at ComEd. He moved to the parent company where he served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs. He later became Senior Vice President, Regulatory & External Affairs and CEO of Baltimore Gas & Electric. Butler was vital in guiding the company and its stakeholders in the $7.9 billion merger between Exelon and Constellation Energy.

He was promoted to CEO of Exelon Utilities, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and President and Chief Operating Officer of Exelon. Butler took over the position of President and CEO of Exelon last year where he oversees the company’s six local electric and natural gas companies. Together, Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco form America’s largest utility company by customer count.

Exelon provides its services to approximately 10 million electric and gas customers. Its scope extends to New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. The firm generated an annual revenue of almost $20 billion in 2022. As a member of Exelon’s executive committee, Butler is ensuring that the company serves the communities where it operates.

The company instituted a $36 million racial equity capital fund. It provided Black entrepreneurs with vital financing and helped minority-owned firms nationwide expand operations and create jobs. Exelon also spent $2.9 billion with diversity-certified suppliers and $260 million with Tier 1 African-American vendors. It has plans to invest $31.3 billion in capital within the next four years to ensure equitable energy transformation.

“Affordability is one of our No. 1 concerns, meaning the ability of customers to pay their gas or electric bills. We have some of the most diverse jurisdictions in the country. I also know that a $1 increase in our rates for some of our customers is also a dollar too much. So, we focus on the affordability issue every day by keeping our operating maintenance budget flat or below the rate of inflation. We have done a wonderful job in connecting our customers with energy assistance.”

Calvin G. Butler Jr. in Black Enterprise

Affordability is at the forefront of Butler’s plan for Exelon. The company provided customers with over $589 million in energy assistance to help pay their bills in 2022. Low-to-moderate-income residents in large cities such as Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. received the aid. Butler is prioritising the maintenance of a reliable grid to meet extreme weather conditions and rising physical and cybersecurity threats. With billions in new federal clean energy funding, he is advancing the energy transition.