* The Belleville News-Democrat has a new editorial about “consumer math”…
The wholesale cost of electricity is $17 per megawatt hour and increases to $150 per megawatt hour, increasing the consumer cost by $131 a year. What will a drop to $72 per megawatt hour save that same consumer in a year? A: $21. B: $71. C: We could explain it, but there’s a lot of consumer math involved. You wouldn’t understand.
The answer is A.
See? That’s consumer math. It doesn’t ever work out to the consumer’s advantage.
Ameren Illinois customers paid out $131 more when the wholesale electricity cost surged, but then when it dropped to less than half at the most recent auction the expected savings will not be less than half that increase, as one might expect. You’ll save about $21 in the coming year.
* Meanwhile, Crain’s reports how ComEd is derailing solar projects…
Commonwealth Edison’s leaders rarely miss a chance to tout how the evolving smart grid is ushering in green technologies and customer choice.
But while solar power grows in other states, including those with climates similar to Illinois’ like Minnesota, the industry essentially doesn’t exist here. In ComEd’s vast service territory, with 3.6 million households, there are little more than 500 residential rooftop solar customers.
In Chicago itself, residential solar power is nearly nonexistent, in large part because so many residents don’t own or control access to a roof on which to place solar panels.
Solar industry representatives and their environmentalist supporters say the lack of inroads here is no accident. ComEd recently went out of its way to halt a state rule aimed at jump-starting one of the most promising new technologies—solar energy fields built to serve groups of customers in densely populated areas like Chicago.
The company’s “plan” is here.
* OK, now look at this story about Exelon’s desire to close the Clinton nuke plant…
In an October 2015 report on the implications of a shutdown of Exelon’s three Illinois plants, The Nuclear Energy Institute, a lobbying group, noted that “over the past 10 years, the (Illinois’ 11 reactors) … have operated at 96 percent of capacity, which is above the industry average and signifcantly higher than all other forms of electric generation.” […]
“The average consumer could pay twice as much for electricity” if the [Clinton] plant closes, contends Stoner. Estimates from a state study indicate that wholesale energy prices could rise by as much as $341 annually for families and businesses in the surrounding region.
Perhaps produce less electricity? I dunno. But if prices are too low with all plants running at almost full capacity, and if prices will skyrocket if one plant is shuttered, perhaps they could come up with an Exelon-based power management decision that doesn’t require a ratepayer bailout?
[Story changed a bit because I had a brain freeze. Still recovering from last week, I think. Sorry.]