Legislation passed by the General Assembly to keep Exelon’s nuclear power plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities operating is nothing more than ratepayer bailout for a very profitable company, according to State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-O’Fallon).
The House and Senate passed Senate Bill 2814 on Thursday, Dec. 1. McCarter said the measure provides $8 billion in subsidies, which he calls bailout money.
“The money has to come from somewhere,” McCarter said. “This is a bailout for a very profitable company. $2 billion in profit last year. Their CEOs earned $31 million, but apparently just five percent of the profits wasn’t enough to save their own facilities.”
Under SB2814, Exelon will receive subsidies totaling $235 million a year for up to 10 years. There are also financial incentives for energy efficiency and so-called “green” energy such as solar and wind power that include utility companies, Com-Ed and Ameren.
McCarter said the money for the subsidies and incentives will come from ratepayers.
“It’ll be families who need relief and not an increase in their power bills and commercial and industrial users of electricity who are already struggling to stay in business in this state,” said McCarter. “
Exelon claims that without the financial assistance they would be forced to close their nuclear power plants in Clinton and Cordova, Illinois with a loss of hundreds of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars paid out in local property taxes, but Sen. McCarter said job losses will occur under the bailout plan as electricity rates rise and drive away business and industry.
“There are estimates that job losses statewide could be as high as 44,000. You won’t see them as a headline in the news happening all at once. It’ll be 25 here; 50 here,” said McCarter. “Large users of power such as ADM, Tate and Lyle, their number two cost for goods sold is energy.”
McCarter said the legislation disrupts the free market to pick winners and losers. He said nuclear wins and Illinois coal and ratepayers lose.
“We’ve had five coal plants in Illinois shut down. They weren’t bailed out by the Legislature,” said McCarter. “There was never a word about helping those clean and efficient coal plants and their employees. I have an obligation to defend the hard-working people of southern Illinois. Passage of this bill makes Exelon the big winner and Illinois ratepayers the losers!”
Having passed out of the House and the Senate, the measure will now advance to the Governor’s desk for further consideration. The Governor has indicated he will sign the bill.