For more than a year now, we’ve been hearing rumblings that ComEd-parent Exelon would push for some type of legislation that would boost revenue for its fleet of nuclear plants.
Now, Illinois’ largest energy company has gone public. As Crain’s Chicago Business reported earlier this week, the giant wants to add a surcharge that would increase ComEd and Ameren bills by an estimated $300 million a year. (This from a company that has raked in more than $20 billion in profits the last decade.)
CUB will carefully review Exelon’s proposal, but what we know so far raises concerns.
Exelon has made more than $20 billion in profits over the past decade, its overall nuclear fleet is profitable—and consumers have already paid for those plants several times over, from when the facilities were owned by ComEd.
The solution to Illinois’ energy issues requires a much more comprehensive and long-term plan than Exelon’s proposal, which would raise ComEd and Ameren electric bills by an estimated $300 million a year. Energy efficiency and distributed energy resources, such as solar, offer the best path for creating Illinois jobs, helping consumers cut their electric bills and securing our energy future.
Anything resembling a full-fledged bailout of Exelon’s nuclear plants would be radioactive for our pocketbooks, and should be rejected by the state.
This is the second major energy bill to be proposed this month, but those two bills couldn’t be more different. The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is proposing to increase state standards for efficiency and renewable energy, which would eventually create 32,000 jobs a year.
Based on published reports, here’s a little more detail:
- Exelon runs six nuclear power plants in Illinois. Although it hasn’t released details, the company says that three of its plants—Byron, Clinton and Quad Cities—are struggling financially.
- Exelon is pushing legislators to approve a new surcharge on Ameren and ComEd electric bills in 2016 to provide it with more revenue. All customers would pay this charge, even if they have an alternative supplier.
- The legislation would establish a “low-carbon portfolio standard.” That would require ComEd and Ameren to get at least 70 percent of their power from low-carbon sources, such as nuclear.
- The legislation would charge ComEd and Ameren customers extra to pay for low-carbon credits purchased through a procurement process managed by the Illinois Power Agency. The legislation would cap any rate increases to a little over 2 percent, and it would sunset after five years.
- The legislation would increase state electric bills by an estimated $250-$300 million a year.
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