Critics of Exelon-backed Illinois proposal deem it a ‘bailout’

Critics of a proposal backed by Exelon (NYSE:EXC) that would set up a Low Carbon Portfolio Standard (HB 3293 / SB 1585) in Illinois, have deemed the legislation a “bailout” for Exelon nuclear plants and said it would carry heavy costs ratepayers.

A bill designed to boost revenues for Exelon’s Illinois nuclear plants would cost ratepayers $1.6bn dollars and hike rates on users large and small all over the state, according a study announced April 21 by the BEST Coalition.

The Study, titled “A Cost Impact Analysis of Illinois’ Proposed Low Carbon Portfolio Standard,” was performed by Kestler Energy Consulting, LLC and commissioned by the BEST Coalition.

The BEST Coalition describes itself as a 501C4 nonprofit organization comprised of dozens of business, consumer and government groups, as well as large and small businesses. The organization, Illinois Industrial Electric Consumers, is identified as a member of BEST. The BEST website is www.noexelonbailout.com.

The Low Carbon Portfolio Standard would increase electric costs by $2.38 per MWh ($0.00238/kWh) for ComEd customers and $2.17 per MWh ($0.00217/kWh) for Ameren, according to BEST.

“While we haven’t had time to review this supposed study, it’s clear that it ignores the enormous costs to Illinois if we do not act to properly value the state’s nuclear plants and prevent them from closing early,” Exelon said through a spokesperson.

“The costs of allowing nuclear plants to retire prematurely far exceed the actual cost of the Low Carbon Portfolio Standard, which includes strong consumer protections that prevent undue increases to utility bills,” Exelon said. “The cost to Illinois of allowing nuclear plants to close early are as much as 12 times greater than the LCPS when fully considering increased wholesale power prices, transmission costs, adverse economic impacts and adverse environmental impacts,” Exelon added.

The state of Illinois released a report in January that found that if three Illinois nuclear plants close, the state could lose up to $1.8bn in economic activity each year, Exelon added.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.