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*** UPDATED x2 *** Exelon turns up the heat a little

Thursday, Jul 30, 2015

* Make sure to read the last excerpted paragraph in this Crain’s story

Looks like Exelon’s Quad Cities nuclear plant is a goner come September.

Chris Crane, CEO of the Chicago-based utility giant, which also is the largest nuclear plant operator in the country, made clear on a conference call with analysts today that he doesn’t see a way to keep money-losing Quad Cities open in the absence of a state law to charge ratepayers throughout Illinois more to bolster revenues at Exelon’s nukes. Exelon says that three of its six Illinois plants are losing money as wholesale power prices remain historically low due in large part to the cheap cost of natural gas.

Exelon has established September as the time it must decide the future of Quad Cities, and an anticipated revenue windfall for Exelon’s nukes courtesy of a regional power-plant auction set for next month almost certainly won’t be enough, Crane said.

That auction, conducted by regional grid operator PJM Interconnection to set the price of “capacity” paid by all utility customers to qualifying power plants, is expected to materially hike electricity rates beginning in June 2018, as well as revenues for big power generators like Exelon. PJM has changed the rules of the auction to virtually ensure that companies will get paid more and energy prices for customers will rise. Exelon’s Illinois nukes are in line to see hundreds of millions in additional revenue beginning in mid-2018 from the changes. […]

Quad Cities, too, ultimately could survive if Exelon prevails in Springfield, even if the company announces in September it will close the plant. Company executives in the past have said they could reverse such a decision as late as six months or so after making it. After that, though, it would be irreversible, they’ve said.

So, in reality, the GA has until March to do something.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Former Exelon CEO John Rowe begged to differ this week

Q: Depending how the upcoming PJM capacity auctions go, Exelon’s nuclear plants may benefit a lot and it would seem they would not need the bill in the legislature to guarantee their future. What do you think?

A: The [MISO] capacity auction in southern Illinois did not have much effect on Exelon because it sold the power forward. It would have an effect a year from now but not big enough to make that plant [Clinton Power Station] profitable. The [PJM] auction could make that Quad Cities plant profitable.

Emphasis added.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition…

“Exelon’s threats to close the Quad City and Byron plants increase the urgency to pass the Illinois Clean Jobs bill, which will raise production of wind and solar to 35% and double energy efficiency. This is the only viable way for Illinois to meet the Obama Administration’s new Clean Power Plan rules expected out next week and along the way save consumers $1.6 billion on electric bills and employ more than 32,000 workers over the next decade and beyond.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Tom Cullerton drops out

Thursday, Jul 30, 2015

* Riopell

State Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park says he’ll drop his bid for Congress in 2016 and run for re-election to the Illinois Senate instead.

Cullerton was one of the Democratic contenders in the 8th Congressional District to try to replace U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is running for U.S. Senate. […]

His exit from the race leaves businessman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg and fellow state Sen. Mike Noland of Elgin as Democratic candidates for the seat. But with months left before candidates have to file for office, others could get in or out. […]

Krishnamoorthi has led early fundraising, pulling in $621,041 to Cullerton’s $134,761 in the second quarter of the year. Noland reported raising about $64,516.

That money gap was probably a big reason that Cullerton woke up to reality. Also, without him, the Senate Democrats were in real danger of losing that seat.

*** UPDATE *** Sen. Mike Noland…

I’ve had the privilege of serving the people of Illinois alongside Tom Cullerton, and I’ve come to admire and respect his commitment to public service and the people of our communities. Tom is a military veteran, something we have in common, so I know that he believes in being a part of something greater than any one individual. Those of us who have served have a unique understanding of what it means to put the good of the community ahead of your own personal interests. I think that’s what drew us both to public service. I know that there are many great things ahead for Tom, and I wish him the best of luck in his re-election campaign. I look forward to working with him as the congressman for this district for years to come.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


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