Ameren customers wouldn’t see benefits from current Exelon bill
SPRINGFIELD – If the Illinois General Assembly passes legislation that Exelon Corp. has said is essential to the future of two financially struggling nuclear power plants, customers of downstate utility Ameren Illinois would help cover the cost but wouldn’t enjoy some of the benefits, environmental advocates contend.
Exelon said it needs action on its “Next Generation Power Plan” before the legislature’s scheduled May 31 adjournment to avoid shutting down the Clinton Power Station next summer. The bill is also vital to the future of the Quad-Cities Generating Station in Cordova, the company said.
The bill would extend subsidies similar to those granted to the wind and solar energy industries to nuclear plants, a move the company said is warranted because nuclear power, like wind and solar, doesn’t generate carbon pollution. Exelon said its proposal would cost the average residential customer of its Northern Illinois utility Commonwealth Edison 25 cents extra per month.
Ameren Illinois spokesman Tucker Kennedy said the company is still analyzing the effect the legislation would have on its customers’ energy bills.
Advocates contend Ameren customers could pay more as a result but won’t reap the benefits of new energy efficiency commitments ComEd would make.
“The bottom line is customers downstate are left holding the bag with the cost, and they’re not getting the benefits or the savings,” said Nick Magrisso, Midwest states legislative director for the National Resources Defense Council.
The legislation would commit ComEd to expanding energy efficiency programs that would save customers an estimated $4 billion over the next decade.
As a result of negotiations with environmental groups and other members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, the plan includes requirements that ComEd cut its energy sales by 18.5 percent by 2025 and 23 percent by 2030. It would receive financial incentives for meeting the targets and face penalties for missing them.