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Exelon bailout passes Illinois House and Senate




SPRINGFIELD – Illinois manufacturers are big users of electricity, and they will be hit the hardest in the Exelon bailout deal the Illinois General Assembly passed Thursday just before it went into recess until next January.

The measure will funnel $235 million in annual ratepayer subsidies to the unprofitable nuclear power plants and hike investments in renewable power and energy efficiency, the Southern reports.

The majority of lawmakers ignored opposition from groups like Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA), which represents over 800 small to medium sized manufacturers already struggling to stay in Illinois.

TMA's President Steve Rauschenberger alerted his association members before the vote: "You and the other member companies of TMA are being invited to dinner, and our bottom lines are the main course for Commonwealth Edison, Exelon, and advocates of 'Green Power.'"

TMA argued that a major problem is with the cost of “electric service” as their baseline instead of the cost of energy.  The bill's definition of "electric service" will cause the companies' energy baseline calculations to almost double, they argued, a cost they'll be forced to pass onto their customers, who will in turn, be forced to pass on to consumers. 

The Illinois Manufacturers' Association, who represents large manufacturers, reportedly also opposed the proposal. 

Residential users' bills are expected to increase minimally.

State Senator Kyle McCarter expressed concern that the measure subsidizes influential companies, in effect, "picking winners and losers" – something state government shouldn't be in the habit of doing. Two major employers in his district said their energy bills would increase substantially with the proposal.

The deal will keep Exelon's nuclear plants in Clinton and Quad Cities open and 1500 employed, something their local lawmakers used to argue for the measure.

“People really thought … in DeWitt County that it was going to close,” State Rep. Bill Mitchell told the Southern. “They thought that was their fate, so this is a good Christmas for them.”

The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, made up of environmental and consumer groups, also were delighted with the bill’s passage.

“This bill includes elements of difficult compromise, but ultimately this is a tremendous victory for Illinois,” the coalition said in a prepared statement. “We commend members of the General Assembly from both sides of the aisle for their passage of the bill and we urge Governor Rauner to sign it to jump start Illinois’ clean energy economy.”

The bill passed the House 63-38 and the Senate voted 32-18. Governor Rauner is expected to sign the measure into law since he and his office worked out the compromise.

SB 2814 Senate Sponsors were Sen. Chapin RoseChristine RadognoDonne E. TrotterNeil Anderson. House sponsors were Rep. Robert Rita - Lawrence Walsh, Jr.Bill MitchellWilliam DavisEd Sullivan, John C. D'Amico, Edward J. Acevedo, Michael W. Tryon and Patrick J. Verschoore

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  1. This is a very bad deal for Illinois citizens. Rauner signing on to corporate welfare at the expense of energy rate-payers is really disappointing.
    In essence, Illinois residents will be subsidizing a massive and profitable energy company … through increasing fees. Very Bad!

  2. Without commenting on bailout, could somebody explain this to me. Why does Con ED and Exelon spend millions sponsoring things like the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights, Chicago Botznic Gardens Holiday Lights, and countless other programs. Why do they have skyboxes at sports venues like Wrigley Field?
    The light shows are nice but I’d rather have cheaper electricity at my home.,
    Why do they run TV and print ads on what lightbulb to use? Why?
    They are an electric company monopoly so why advertise? Seems like they could save that money, lower rates, and not need a bailout.,

  3. To curry favor with the combine, would be my guess. The “green” energy part that the enviro mentals are just wild about (funny how they were furious, angry, and demented a week ago when it included downstate Ameren) is the combine in action. Anyway, Ameren and its customers (which is basically every county outside of metro Chicago and south of the Rockford region) are the real losers here; all of those deplorables who voted 6-3, 7-2, and yes, even 8-1 are being stuck with big price increases. Does Ameren do any of those things that ComEd does? I wouldn’t have the slightest clue, but it seems like they don’t curry favor with the state slavemasters. I’m going to assume that Ameren, and Illinois fossil fuels, enjoy more respect in Missouri than they do in Illinois.