Big Exelon announcement opens the door for Illinois Clean Jobs Bill

Ending months of speculation about the fate of its Quad Cities and Byron nuclear power plants, ComEd-parent Exelon announced today that it would put off a decision about those plants for another year.

As consumers brace for higher power bills due to recent electricity auctions, this development provides a unique opportunity to pass the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill,  the only energy legislation in Springfield that would save consumers money.

Today, Exelon said Quad Cities will stay open at least through May 2018 and Byron through May 2019–good news for all the hard-working employees there. Exelon said it was “encouraged” by the results of recent electricity auctions that the Chicago Tribune reports could bring it $1.2 billion in additional revenue. (CUB has said the rules of these electricity auctions are stacked against consumers.)

For more than a year now, Exelon had threatened to close some of its six Illinois nuclear power plants unless legislators passed special rate-hike legislation that would boost its revenue. The Exelon Bill, which consumer advocates fought to a standstill in the General Assembly this year, would have forced Ameren and ComEd customers to pay a surcharge that could increase their bills by an estimated $300 million a year.

CUB opposed the measure, saying the company had made more than $20 billion in profits over the last decade and customers had already paid for those plants several times over.

If Exelon’s announcement today means that the company is moving away from its rate-hike legislation in Springfield, that’s a good step forward, and it opens the door for Illinois to pass the Clean Jobs Bill.

The legislation beefs up energy efficiency standards, which CUB estimates will save electricity customers $1.6 billion by 2030, or an average of nearly $100 a year for Illinois families. Plus, it creates smart distributed-energy programs, such as “community solar,” which would deliver the benefits of cheap, reliable solar energy to entire neighborhoods–even homes without solar panels.

Passing the Clean Jobs Bill should be at the top of everyone’s to-do list, given the fact that the recent power auctions mean we’re going to pay higher power bills in the years to come. It’s time to seize the day! CUB will work with all parties in Springfield to help pass pro-consumer legislation that will make our power grid more reliable and affordable and open the door to a “utility of the future” that maximizes efficiency, solar and other distributed-energy resources.

Please, send a message to legislators in favor of the Clean Jobs Bill!

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About Jim Chilsen

Jim is director of communications for the Citizens Utility Board (CUB)
This entry was posted in ComEd, Efficiency, Electric bills, Energy, energy efficiency, Exelon, Nuclear Power and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Big Exelon announcement opens the door for Illinois Clean Jobs Bill

  1. A frugal environmentalist says:

    There are major problems with the Clean Jobs bill. Consider the Koehler amendment that encourages coal plants to be converted into biomass plants. Biomass includes ethanol, trees and trash. Ethanol takes considerable inputs, such as petroleum, that emit carbon. This carbon would not be included for compliance purpose, to the best of my knowledge. The Koehler amendment also asks Illinois tax payers to cough up money for clean coal. As you well know, Jim, the Clean Jobs bill requires that 25% of our electricity comes from clean coal. Please ask those who wrote the bill why that language remains in the renewable portfolio standards. The authors did not strike that language, so, in effect, those who wrote and support the bill are supporting expensive clean coal (of course there is no such thing) and are endorsing raising our taxes to pay for it. Next, you personally, and the other supporters of the bill keep insisting that our need for electricity is going to drop. What about electric cars, heat pumps and other technologies that reduce pollution but at the same time increase our need for electricity? I think you and the supporters of this bill are being very irresponsible. Our needs are going to increase as more and more people take advantage of the new pollution reducing electric technologies.

    Bottom line, this bill does not need to pass. In fact, it shouldn’t because it is a deeply flawed bill. If it is not passed by next summer the EPA will come up with a better solution, with out all the political favors that shaped this bill in it’s entirety.

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