Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear power utility, has upped the ante in its quest for a bailout from the Illinois legislature, saying it has “to have an answer” by September as to whether Illinois ratepayers are going to pay more for their electricity just because it’s from nuclear power.
Although Exelon consistently has refused to publicly release any of the relevant financial information to back up its claims that some of its reactors are losing money, the utility now claims that, as E & E put it, “the month of September represents decision day for Exelon.”
Top Exelon lobbyist Joe Dominguez said, “At the end of the day, the choice is whether to save the plants or not.”
That argument is falling on increasingly deaf ears in Illinois, in light of Exelon’s refusal to turn over financial data and where Exelon’s Clinton reactor already got a boost from a recent capacity auction.
As Cara Hendrickson of the Illinois Attorney General’s office said, “What this bill does is disrupt that market. It puts a thumb on the scales,” she said. “Basically, it’s ‘Heads up, Exelon wins. Tails up, Exelon wins.’ That’s not a free market. It’s a bailout.”
It’s growing more and more possible that Exelon has overreached and its argument that people should may more for electricity than they otherwise would have to just to receive the alleged “benefits” of nuclear power–benefits far outweighed by its drawbacks–just won’t fly. Deservedly so.
But it will still require more outreach, organizing and action. NIRS’ action page to the state legislature is here; make sure every single person you can reach in Illinois gets the url: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5502/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19803
May 1, 2015
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