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Rauner administration agrees in principle to Exelon deal

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2016

* I’m told by a source very close to the negotiations that Gov. Rauner’s administration has agreed “in principle” to support a new deal on the bill to prevent the closure of two of Exelon’s nuclear power plants and expand alternative energy sources.

I’m also told there are “hard” caps on rate increases for residential ratepayers and commercial users, and the proposed microgrids and some other items have been dropped from the measure to save money.

There have been plenty of doubts around the rail that the Rauner administration could actually get something done here. But they negotiated well into the night last night (when things just about fell apart) and then restarted bright and early this morning (6 o’clock) and got it done.

Waiting on react and more details. Stay tuned.

…Adding… Exelon folks have confirmed this as well.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


45 Comments
  1. - A guy - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:23 am:

    Someone better tell someone. Or better yet, someone better confirm this with someone. Maybe more than one someone.


  2. - Gman - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:23 am:

    I have been following the Exelon negotiations. I understand they have dropped some of their requests. It has been said here before but one troubling fact remains: Exelon is getting a bailout. Through that bailout, the company would keep open two nuclear plants that Exelon itself has declared are not economically viable. In any other business, owners themselves would have to deal with a money-losing operation. Exelon thinks it’s exceptional, however. Why should Illinoisans absorb the cost of keeping these unneeded plants open? We’re still waiting for a sensible answer.


  3. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:29 am:

    The clock is ticking. Testimony going on in the Senate (Rm 400) right now. Not everyone has been included in the dialogue and changes. May pass and get signed, but there may be repercussions unforeseen or just ignored. Exelon may have to drop the Dec 1. I think they should, but I doubt they will because that is their biggest leverage point. Rita had promised to send the Amend 4 back to the House Committee if there were significant changes so they could be reviewed. Rush this through, and some political careers may pay the costs.


  4. - Winnin' - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:31 am:

    Surprised Rauner would agree to screw manufacturers.


  5. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    The AG’s office is really ticked off. AARP is not supporting either. Does Rauner care? Probably not. Should legislators care? Do they want AARP financing attack ads in the next election? Maybe they won’t care either because of Rauner Bucks. But will Rauner Bucks last the life of this bill??? GA Vote records will.


  6. - Winnin' - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:43 am:

    Doubtful Rauner’s folks would participate with AG Madigan involved. Petty, petty. Bad in the long run.


  7. - Foster brooks - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:47 am:

    I cant wait for the higher rates, the bright side Emil Jones wasn’t in on the negotiations


  8. - SportShz - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:47 am:

    Does the Gov realize that HGOP members Ives, Morrison, and Bartinick have all come out against this huge, anti-free market bailout for Exelon?


  9. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    ===Does the Gov realize that HGOP members Ives, Morrison, and Bartinick have all come out against===

    That’s three out of 118. There will always be opponents to stuff like this.


  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    Also, you cite those three like their opposition should somehow be a deal killer. Curious as to why you think that.


  11. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:51 am:

    I can see the possibility of a presser with Rauner shrugging his shoulders and saying, “Hey, I tried.” His principles are as moveable as his TA goalposts. And this is not TA related, just a good “exercise” for the supes.


  12. - SportShz - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    @Rich Miller - not a deal killer, but shows some serious conservative cracks in the HGOP caucus


  13. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:58 am:

    IL Manufacturers Association just testified strongly against this bill. Is Rauner planning to just ignore them??? Chem also- 3rd largest manufacturing sector in IL. Ignore them to reward Exelon???


  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    ===serious conservative cracks===

    Meh. They’d be cracking almost no matter what.


  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    ===Is Rauner planning to just ignore them???===

    IMA didn’t support dereg, either.


  16. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:07 am:

    Interesting that on the same day the Governor agrees to subsidize a nuclear plant the market says we no longer need California announces that PG&E is going to pay the affected communities $85 million over the next decade as it prepares to close its last nuclear plant there. Guess Rauner forgot how to negotiate.


  17. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:10 am:

    Rich- Granted, but a lot has changed since then. Natural gas was the game changer that Exelon, who wanted the dereg, had not planned for. A lot of the testimony is concerning who is more important in this bill. Exelon cannot even guarantee that they will be able to honor the 10 years because something might change in the future.


  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:12 am:

    Not disagreeing on your point, Anon221. Not loving a subsidy to Exelon, either.


  19. - Broncogirl - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:13 am:

    It is not a bailout it is a subsidy just like Wind and Solar get. Nukes are clean 0 emissions but can’t be competitive when competition is subsidized. True free market needs an even playing field.


  20. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:13 am:

    Ives & Morrison are turning into modern versions of Shane Cultra. They vote no on pretty much everything.

    I for one am glad the legislature and negotiators took their time and stalled this past the spring and overtime sessions.


  21. - Abe the Babe - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:13 am:

    ==IMA didn’t support dereg, either.==

    While ultimately successful, Dereg had a LOT of unknowns. With this bill its pretty clear what the impacts are, who’s paying, who’s being paid, etc. Although how much seems to be a matter of dispute but I always take to the bank any estimates that Exelon or comed provide to the GA.

    Snark/


  22. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:16 am:

    === Nukes are clean 0 emissions===

    LOL. Unless you count that radioactive waste with a half life in the millions of years.

    ===can’t be competitive when competition is subsidized===

    The construction of those plants was heavily subsidized. And I assume taxpayers are gonna have to pay to deal with the waste issue.


  23. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:17 am:

    So we have gone 2 years without a budget and now the governor agrees to eliminate the one competitive advantage we have? For these large employers what will their increase equate to in terms of a real estate tax increase or workers comp increase?


  24. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:18 am:

    The card caps are huge. Rich - as you noted yesterday I cannot imagine the teeth gnashing if schools in the suburbs saw their utility rates skyrocket.


  25. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:19 am:

    Rich- I’ve gotta admit, this is a good “squirrel!!!” from the budget issues, though, for Rauner.


  26. - Abe the Babe - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:19 am:

    @broncogirl

    You don’t actually believe that stuff do you?

    Don’t quit your day job. And if you are involved in energy policy…quit your day job!


  27. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:22 am:

    Rich- taxpayers already pay for nuclear waste storage. We have been doing so for years.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/05/how-the-department-of-energy-became-a-major-taxpayer-liability.html


  28. - Gman - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:40 am:

    I have been following the Exelon negotiations. I understand they have dropped some of their requests. The fact that Exelon is getting a bailout. If the plants are not economically viable why not do what other companies do? “In any other business, owners themselves would have to deal with a money-losing operation.” Why should Illinoisans absorb the cost of keeping these unneeded plants open? I am still waiting for that explanation.


  29. - MiketheSage - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:45 am:

    This is the right decision. Why would Illinois give up on two plants that produce gobs of electricity with no GHG emissions. Wind and solar may someday produce Nuke scale reliability, but it’ll take a while. Forest from the trees people.


  30. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:46 am:

    The RPS fix has been a dire need for years. The solar for low income folks is awesome. Glad they dropped the demand charge. Alternative energy and efficiency money is awesome.

    LOL at “even playing field.” Fossil fuels have been subsidized for CENTURIES


  31. - SportShz - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:46 am:

    Who would have thought “Shaking Up Springfield” really meant negotiating and approving a bailout for Exelon?


  32. - Winnin' - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    Wasn’t Dereg negotiated in the IMA offices? They got the best deal - an opportunity to shop around. They got the lowest prices in the nation.


  33. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:55 am:

    ===Wasn’t Dereg negotiated in the IMA offices?===

    Yep. And then shortly thereafter they bowed out.


  34. - One Day - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 1:19 pm:

    Rauner has completely outfoxed the House and Senate Democrats on this Bill. When it passes - because the Dems have no choice or they risk offending labor - Rauner’s going to look like the only adult in Springfield. His popularity numbers will get a huge bump and this will pair well with Trump saving Carrier jobs in Indiana. it’s a new day in Springfield.


  35. - Going nuclear - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 1:20 pm:

    There is no such thing as an unsubsidized unit of energy in this country. Even oil and natural gas production still get government incentives.

    I like the proposed deal. I would rather see the nukes kept open than have to heavily rely on natural gas for electricity generation. Hopefully this will help provide a smoother transition to lower-cost renewables and efficiency, with energy storage just around the corner. It is also an opportunity for Illinois to join California, New York, Maryland and other states that are demonstrating leadership in working towards a low-carbon economy.


  36. - unconscious observer - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 1:33 pm:

    can this pass without industrials on board?


  37. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:08 pm:

    Why are the allegedly at-risk nuke jobs a top priority for the governor while the thousands who lost jobs from his squeeze the beast play mean oogats?

    Under what theory of conservative capitalism does the government levy a surtax on individuals and small businesses to underwrite the supposedly failing subsidiaries of a corporation that banked $2.2 billion in profits last year?

    Who believes that Exelon was really going to shut down those plants and start paying decommission costs, at a minimum of $500 million each?

    Same old ComEd/Exelon extortion story. They demand the moon and the stars, and the politicians claim it’s a victory when they only give away the stars.


  38. - unconscious observer - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    @wordslinger Exelon won’t start paying that money out for years. they keep the decommissioning cash in a trust fund for at least 10yrs before they make any real disbursements.


  39. - NorthsideNoMore - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:37 pm:

    The same folks bemoaning a energy deal would be blasting away at him if the Guv sat on his hands and let the plants close, the jobs go bye bye and the tax revenues from said plants disappear from the states coffers. Oh and watch the devastating affects to the local communities if the plants close.


  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:41 pm:

    UO, your trust in the Exelon trust funds is unwarranted.

    They’re $800 million short, at least. That’s real money, even for them.

    And given how they crazily underestimated the costs of building their nukes, it’s a fair assumption that they’re low-balling the cleanup, too.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20160618/ISSUE01/306189996/exelons-nuke-cleanup-funds-fall-short


  41. - The Cardinal - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    Anon 221 AARP should get on board CUB has been on this bill for a long time, it appears they can do math better or do better math ?


  42. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:07 pm:

    The Cardinal- The AARP and CUB divide is not the only divide out there. There are several enviro groups that I have supported in the past that will not have my support in the future because of this bill. I realize they may have seen this as the only way to be able to fix the RPS and to get other renewable efforts to go through, since Exelon so vehemently shut any and all of those down for years because it would (possibly) cut into their profits. and, BTW, Exelon touts itself as a large player in the renewables marketplace- http://www.powermag.com/exelon-americas-leading-nuclear-generator-keeps-the-faith-on-nukes/ .

    Exelon bundled the RPS and renewables into this bill to get their subsidies for the nuclear plants. It wasn’t the other way around, so while I understand why CUB and the Sierra Club and all the others in the Clean Jobs Coalition have signed on, I stand with those who point out there are severe problems with this “deal” and old Dan’l Webster would be the first to point that out to them.


  43. - Anon22 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:03 pm:

    @Rich

    “The construction of those plants was heavily subsidized. And I assume taxpayers are gonna have to pay to deal with the waste issue.”

    I believe the feds already provide subsidies for waste and fuel disposal.


  44. - BEST Dave - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:48 pm:

    ComEd just testified that the supposed residential rate cap to $0.25/ month applies to a whole class, not to individuals. Violations result in a report from the ICC to ILGA. ILGA then put in position of being a rate maker to force Exelon and ComEd to give back money.

    These are bogus caps on all but the largest 106 customers in Illinois.


  45. - One who knows - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 7:50 pm:

    That’s not true best Dave. Read the bill. There’s a report to the general assembly but the commission has the authority to issue corrective action and is required to do so if the cap is triggered. The report just explains the reasons for the corrective action.


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