SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP/KWQC) – A plan to keep two Illinois nuclear power plants operating and save thousands of jobs is on its way to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who supports the measure.
The Senate voted 32-18 to approve the plan Thursday night just an hour after it got House approval 63-38.
The measure provides $235 million a year to Exelon Corp. for 13 years. Exelon counts it as a subsidy for nuclear power producing no gases harmful to the atmosphere.
It allows unprofitable nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities to stay open.
Proponents say it will cost electricity ratepayers less than 25 cents a month and provide hundreds of millions of dollars in energy-efficiency programs.
Critics say it’s a corporate bailout that will hike energy prices and that Illinois has enough power generation without the nuclear plants.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner release the following statement:
“For months our administration has been very clear that any energy legislation should follow the guiding principles of protecting jobs, ratepayers and taxpayers. After dozens of hours of good faith negotiations, we have reached an agreement that aligns with those principles. This legislation will save thousands of jobs. It protects ratepayers, through guaranteed caps, from large rate increases in years to come. It also ensures taxpayers are not on the hook to keep the power plants open and online. We thank the rank-and-file legislators and stakeholders for their perseverance and commitment to seeing this through. This process shows that when all parties are willing to negotiate in good faith, we can find agreement and move our state forward.”
Ameren Illinois President Richard J. Mark released the following statement:
“After intense negotiations, we are pleased to report that our fight to protect the interests of downstate customers was successful. Senate Bill 2814 will enable Ameren Illinois to continue investing to strengthen the electric grid to improve service reliability and implement new energy efficiency programs. Plus, it will keep two nuclear facilities operational, preserving more than 4,000 jobs and keeping energy supply costs lower.
From the first day this legislation was proposed, our singular focus was on ensuring that our customers weren’t unfairly saddled with higher monthly costs without the resulting benefits. What was once a proposed $2 per month bill increase is now a less than 12-cent per month increase and could result in a slight decrease in customer rates over the life of the plan. As a result, we have an energy policy that will pave the way for Ameren Illinois to continue a world-class energy infrastructure modernization program for central and southern Illinois.
I want to thank the members of the General Assembly and the Governor for working with us to keep the interests of downstate customers in mind as this bill was negotiated. No bill is perfect and not every stakeholder will be fully satisfied. In the end, the opportunity to work with all parties to stabilize employment, bolster energy efficiency programs and continue improving system reliability made this legislation worthy of support.”