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Today’s numbers

Thursday, Oct 31, 2013

* Crain’s

Earnings at Exelon’s Commonwealth Edison Co. were responsible for much of the upside surprise. ComEd generated operating earnings of $127 million, or 19 percent of Exelon’s total, up 41 percent from $90 million during the same period last year, when ComEd accounted for 14 percent of Exelon’s earnings.

The primary reason: higher revenues at ComEd thanks to the 2011 formula rate law enacted in Illinois over Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto, according to Exelon’s earnings release.

Exelon’s CEO Christopher Crane also said that the Clinton nuke plant could be shuttered in a year if wholesale prices don’t improve.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

17 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    –ComEd generated operating earnings of $127 million, or 19 percent of Exelon’s total, up 41 percent from $90 million during the same period last year, when ComEd accounted for 14 percent of Exelon’s earnings.

    The primary reason: higher revenues at ComEd thanks to the 2011 formula rate law enacted in Illinois over Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto, according to Exelon’s earnings release. –

    Huh. I wonder if Exelon and its execs make campaign contributions to Illinois legislators?

    Maybe BGA could look into that, lol.


  2. - A guy... - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    True WS, I think we’re at that “intersection”.


  3. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    ==Huh. I wonder if Exelon and its execs make campaign contributions to Illinois legislators? Maybe BGA could look into that, lol.==

    They did. Several times.

    http://www.bettergov.org/the_price_of_power/


  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    Thanks, Abe.

    I found the unanimous assurances in the BGA story from the utilities and and legislative leaders that campaign contributions had no bearing on the rate increases very comforting.


  5. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 1:35 pm:

    In the old days corporations made their money by making and selling products better and cheaper than the next guy. Today they go to the politicians for tax breaks, subsidies and other advantages. The new way of doing business.


  6. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    That’s all we need. A shuttered nuclear power plant.


  7. - Roadiepig - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 1:37 pm:

    Exelon will shutter the Clinton plant if wholesale prices don’t go up? This, after Ameren basically sold it to then for pennies on the dollar (for what us lowly consumers had to fork over to build that money pit )?They can still profit on that boondoggle ,even at low market prices.

    On a selfish note- there goes my ice-free fishing spot in January ( if they do shut it down)…


  8. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    and no more glow in the dark fish/


  9. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 2:03 pm:

    “Exelon’s CEO Christopher Crane also said that the Clinton nuke plant could be shuttered in a year if wholesale prices don’t improve.”

    Oh, that makes sense - NOT. If that’s so, then I have some serious questions how they do their accounting.

    1) Clinton 1 (only 1 reactor) is arguably at or near the top in terms of being the most modern facility (boiling water) reactor in the entire Exelon Nuclear fleet.
    2) They picked the unit up at fire sale prices (originally in partnership) compared to what it would cost to build out a comparable unit. We’re talking seriously inexpensive.
    3) This facility is in a perfect location to ‘wheel’ power across central US.
    4) They just built a new office complex adjacent to Clinton Station (like in 2010?) and moved a whole lot of people there.
    5) Link is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Nuclear_Generating_Station

    Here’s the Exelon link to the facility information: http://www.exeloncorp.com/powerplants/clinton/Pages/profile.aspx

    I’m thinking that this statement is more of a bargaining position to get approval to extend direct power transmission lines to be able to push electricity into the Chicago area.

    If I remember correctly, the facility is designed to push output more to the East, West, and South. Not so much North.

    But if you are going to have to take all your coal fired units off line because of the Administration’s views on coal (unanticipated consequences, anyone?), you need to have a way to bring more stable power resources up North (renewables aren’t 24/7/365 reliable), and that means doing something like hooking Clinton I directly to power transmission lines running Northerly into the Chicagoland area. There’s your backup.

    We’ll see. Interesting game.


  10. - walkinfool - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 2:22 pm:

    Quinn was right on this one.

    Masterful lobbying, combined with monetary support, turned the tide for them. They sold the idea that what was good for them was by definition good for the whole business community, and would lead to economic growth. Most legislators understand too little of business or economics to be able to dispute such an argument.

    Give them many of the advantages of a public utility, including freedom from many of the real pressures of a free marketplace. But then have them sell the idea that maximizing profit is their highest goal, justifying key decisions regardless of their impact on the public.


  11. - DuPage - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 2:22 pm:

    They might have a point about power prices. I have been told the wholesale price at night goes down to the point where they shut down the windmills to keep the price from going to zero. But if they shut down a nuke, what would they do on a calm day or night? Sounds like a threat to try to get an extra fee added to electric bills.


  12. - Senator Clay Davis - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    DuPage, the problem for Exelon is that they can’t shut down or reduce output from their nuke plants when demand is low. Nuclear units are designed to be baseload power, and it’s not safe to “ramp” them up and down to respond to real-time customer demand. This means that Exelon’s plants are required to produce power, but sell it at an unprofitable, below-cost rate.

    Cheap power is bad for Exelon, though it is good for consumers.


  13. - In the know - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    sounds like a good reason to close down some dirty coal fired plants and rely upon “cleaner” nuke generated power. When there is a glut, isn’t that a perfect time to transition? just saying…


  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 3:11 pm:

    ITK, Exelon has unloaded its coal plants.


  15. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    So let’s see. The ICC warns legislators that the formula rate is all about ComEd/Exelon’s profits. Legislators and leaders take the word of ComEd/Exelon lobbyists including members like Kevin McCarthy and Marlow Colvin, who would soon become ComEd lobbyists, that this was all necessary. Now, lo and behold, much of Exelon’s profits came from the formula rate scam.

    I’m stunned. When oh when will they ever learn.


  16. - Tom Joad - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 8:55 pm:

    Edison once promised that it would only cost $400 million to build a nuclear plant. They have been lying to the legislature ever since. It is not just the campaign contributions that legislators trade their votes for, but the promise of a job after they retire that motivates them.


  17. - rolling meadows - Thursday, Oct 31, 13 @ 10:49 pm:

    great work Sen. Harmon


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