* This is obviously a huge difference in estimates: Less than 25 cents a month vs. $4.20…
A week after ComEd and Exelon dropped some of the most contentious provisions of a controversial energy bill making its way through the Illinois legislature, the power companies say they are paring the bill even further.
The most recent changes would trim below 25 cents the average monthly increase customers would see on their bills if the legislation passes, Tom O’Neill, senior vice president of regulatory and energy policy and general counsel at ComEd, said Monday during a meeting with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.
A third amendment to the bill was filed Monday. ComEd previously estimated the entire proposal, presented earlier this month, would cost consumers an extra 25 cents a month.
“It’s going to be substantially less” with this newest amendment, O’Neill said, although ComEd does not know exactly how much less.
Opponents, however, still disagree with ComEd’s math.
Better Energy Solutions for Tomorrow, or the BEST Coalition, a nonprofit organization made up of business and consumer groups who oppose the legislation, estimated the original legislation would cost ComEd ratepayers $6.23 more per month on average. That number drops only to $4.20 per month with the changes. “This enterprise began as a nuclear bailout and it will end as a nuclear bailout,” said coalition director Dave Lundy.
Expect yet another amendment tomorrow.
* From an op-ed in favor of the bill…
Illinois businesses, as well as consumers, will without a doubt see their electric bills rise as a result of the closure of the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants. These plants contribute $1.2 billion to Illinois’ GDP and provide for 4,200 jobs, but of equal concern, their loss would drive up electric rates by a minimum of $364 million per year and have an environmental impact of $1.1 billion annually. This is a major concern for businesses that depend on the competitive electric rates that are one of the few clear competitive advantages Illinois enjoys over neighboring states.
Average wholesale electricity prices have dropped 15% this year to $29.70 a megawatt-hour, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of power market data from the Energy Department. That is 43% below the 2014 average. […]
“It’s an adverse environment because of the low gas prices, and it’s aggravated by the growth of renewables,” said Hugh Wynne, an analyst at investment research firm SSR LLC in Stamford, Conn.
Natural gas is becoming a dominant fuel for U.S. power plants, and with its price at historic lows, operators of commercial nuclear and coal plants are taking a hit. Also, power demand across much of the U.S. is flat, which weighs on electricity prices and power-plant margins.
U.S. electricity sales this year through August totaled 2.5 billion megawatt-hours, down nearly 1% compared to the same period a year ago, according to data from the Department of Energy.
Competitive Power Ventures announced Thursday its intention to open a state-of-the-art electric generating facility in the Three Rivers area of unincorporated Grundy County.
The CPV Three Rivers Energy Center is a nearly $1 billion privately funded project designed to meet the future electricity demands of Illinois. The 1,100-megawatt natural gas-powered 2-by-1 combined cycle facility will provide enough electricity to power about 1.1 million homes.
* Biz opposition grows as Exelon trims bailout bill again
* Editorial: Rescue 2 Illinois nukes? Why Springfield shouldn’t pick winners and losers