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Another Exelon bailout?

Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019

* Crain’s

Exelon is threatening to shutter three nuclear plants in northern Illinois, which together power the equivalent of 5.5 million homes in the region.

The Chicago-based parent of Commonwealth Edison and the largest nuclear power generator in the country issued the warning about the potential for “early retirement” of its Byron, Dresden and Braidwood nuclear stations in a Feb. 8 Securities & Exchange Commission filing. While Exelon has hinted in the past that Byron and Dresden are financially at risk for closure, it was the first time the company explicitly identified Braidwood as vulnerable. […]

“Dresden, Byron, and Braidwood nuclear plants in Illinois are … showing increased signs of economic distress, which could lead to an early retirement, in a market that does not currently compensate them for their unique contribution to grid resiliency and their ability to produce large amounts of energy without carbon and air pollution,” Exelon said in the filing. […]

In a statement to Crain’s, Exelon said, “We are working with Illinois policymakers and other stakeholders on solutions to not only maintain Illinois’ clean energy progress but to further advance efforts to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions in the electric power and other sectors.” […]

Nuke closures could threaten Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s goal of eventually powering Illinois only through sources that don’t emit carbon. Exelon has been successful arguing that carbon-free nukes are a crucial component of state plans to address climate change by “de-carbonizing.”

* Press release…

State Senator Sue Rezin, R-Morris, and State Representative David Allen Welter, R-Morris, have sent a letter to Exelon Corporation requesting a meeting to discuss the company’s statement in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission that they may close their generating stations at Dresden and Braidwood. In the letter, Rezin and Welter emphasize the importance of protecting local jobs and the region’s energy infrastructure.

“The news of a potential shutdown of two of our nuclear power plants is extremely concerning to me and no doubt to the individuals and families who would be directly impacted,” said Sen. Rezin. “Not only do these facilities stimulate Illinois’ labor income and employment, but they also provide huge amounts to the local property tax base, supporting our school districts, higher education and local government. It is my hope that Exelon answers our call for a meeting so that we can begin the process of establishing a path forward.”

“Just over two years ago, the state approved a multi-billion dollar package for Exelon to keep their nuclear power plants in the Quad Cities and Clinton open,” Representative Welter said. “The potential closure of Dresden and Braidwood jeopardizes thousands of jobs critical to families. Our local nuclear plants are an integral component of Illinois’ energy infrastructure. I am deeply concerned by Exelon’s statement and will fight to protect the future of workers at the Dresden and Braidwood stations.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Nobody Sent - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    Another subsidy on the backs of ratepayers for a corporation spending $$$$ on lobbyists - what’s to complain about?

  2. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    Uh oh, profits aren’t high enough to please the investor/owner class.
    Squeeze the Rubes

  3. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    Both Braidwood plants had NRC extensions approve out to 2046

  4. - Oberon - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 3:12 pm:

    This playbook worked last time; it will probably work this time…and next time…and…

  5. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 3:20 pm:

    Again, with these guys.They’re truly shameless, always.

    For the record, in the last full fiscal year reported, Exelon had profits of $3.8 billion — an increase of 233% — on $33.8 billion of revenues.

    I take it Sen. Rezin plans to lead the charge on this newest surtax on ratepayers because it will “stimulate Illinois labor income.”

    How’d she vote on that minimum wage bump?

    Any of the Usual Suspect, laissez faire capitalists flogging themselves over the first minimum wage bump in nine years want to chime in on another ratepayer surtax for a wildly profitable corporation? One that sells about half of its energy out-of-state?

  6. - illini - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    How many times are we to be expected to cave to the extortion demands of the nuclear power and utility conglomerates? We have done this many times previously.

    Yet, we do have options and alternatives as to how we spend our tax monies to protect monopolies, if that is what we chose to do.

    I would rather see money being spent to expend solar or wind power as reasonable alternatives. And many out of work coal miners could be used to build and maintain these facilities.

  7. - Gohawks123 - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    What a load of crap. They gave raises to their top dogs and still won’t doing anything again. It will be a slap in the face if we give them anything

  8. - Al - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 3:31 pm:

    Our residential rates are only the fifth highest in the country. We should continue to bail them out so executives can get their bonus money until we are number one with the very highest residential rates. We can beat Alaska and Hawaii; if we just try.

  9. - Roman - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    Propping up plants to save jobs in Republican districts, as the last bailout did, might be more difficult now with a Dem holding the veto pen.

  10. - cheapskate - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 3:34 pm:

    It’s like when I call xfinity to say I’m going to switch carriers if they can’t give me another promotional rate…works every time.

  11. - Going nuclear - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    Looks like FEJA 2.0 is in the works.

  12. - CFE - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 3:42 pm:

    So Exelon wants us to believe that they can make 0 dollars of profit from those three plants? If that’s the case, they should be willing to sell them for $0. The state should offer to take the plants off their hands. I imagine they’d suddenly discover that maybe the plants were a bit profitable after all.

    But in the unlikely event that the plants really aren’t profitable, why should Exelon run them at a loss? The state should assume ownership, and temporarily bear the loss while different sources of power are brought online.

  13. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    If the plants shut down, Exelon will have to start paying decommissioning costs. I think they are running a bluff. As long as it generates cash, they are better off delaying the decommissioning costs.

  14. - Dupage Bard - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 4:09 pm:

    I’ve got to say the Dems are very helpful when it comes to raising taxes on their own residents and keeping power plants alive in Republican districts so the GOP legislators are the heroes.
    Well done Dems.

  15. - Suburban Mom - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    Yeah, if we have to keep “bailing out” Exelon, at what point do we just own it? Nationalize Exelon already

  16. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 4:27 pm:

    Exelon wants its money in non-sequential bills, and in small denominations, 10s, 20s and 50s only. Put it in a large black suitcase and wait for further instructions. If you fail to follow these instructions, it’s lights-out for the nuclear plants.

  17. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    AOC leaving nuclear power out of the Green New Deal was the last nail. Maybe they can cover the side of the stacks with government subsidized solar panels and put wind mills on top.

  18. - Dome Gnome - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 4:44 pm:

    No. I’m still sore about the last bailout.

  19. - DuPage - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 4:46 pm:

    They spend lots of money to stop competing wind energy, then want us to pay more. No sale.

  20. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 4:56 pm:

    Better pay off Jenn Walling and co stat so they can sell us all out again.

  21. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 5:03 pm:

    =For the record, in the last full fiscal year reported, Exelon had profits of $3.8 billion — an increase of 233% — on $33.8 billion of revenues.=

    Live within your means? Don’t we hear that one a lot?

  22. - ShyBoy - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 5:20 pm:

    Why don’t we let Exelon leave and the State of Illinois assume control of the plants? Make public utilities public?

  23. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 5:35 pm:

    ==Why don’t we let Exelon leave and the State of Illinois assume control of the plants? ==

    Can we instead offer Ameren the chance to expand northwards? They already cover a huge chunk of central and southern Illinois. Their rates aren’t the greatest, but I imagine they might be interested in providing service to a huge new customer base

  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 5:43 pm:

    “Why don’t we let Exelon leave and the State of Illinois assume control of the plants? Make public utilities public?”

    Given the track record the State of Illinois has managing its properties, do really want any state agency running a nuclear power plant?

    I can see the headline now, “Radioactive Steam Leak Blankets Braidwood” and the governor’s statement, ““This is not an emergency,” Rauner told reporters following an unrelated Aug. 28 event. “My understanding is that particular plant has followed all the regulations and the proper procedures. There was a very small amount of radiation that was released, well under federal guidelines.”

  25. - Huh? - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 5:45 pm:

    Anon at 5:43 was I.

  26. - Eminent Domain - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 6:08 pm:

    If the plants are worthless to Exelon, the State should seize them and then auction to an operator who can make a profit, applying the sale proceeds to the pension debt.

  27. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 6:22 pm:

    –AOC leaving nuclear power out of the Green New Deal was the last nail.–

    What in the world does she have to do with Exelon using state government to, once again, as they have for decades, shake down ratepayers?

    Turn off your TV for a while and get some fresh air.

  28. - Illinois Resident - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 8:13 pm:

    Just a sign of the times. Large corporations not doing the right thing, not being good stewards of our communities, only looking at the short term. No wonder people are starting to wake up and back policies that help average people.

  29. - Anon - Wednesday, Feb 13, 19 @ 8:25 pm:

    As with the last bailout, the State would be better off just writing a large check for each affected worker.

  30. - Aurora - Thursday, Feb 14, 19 @ 3:49 am:

    Clean Energy has value but what exactly is the number….and in an energy market that does not account for this intrinsic value of nuclear power we owe it to ourselves to trust that our legislators will make the right decision.

    This is really an insurance policy against climate change…and in a country with no coherent emission reduction framework it’s saddled the states with the task. Fighting a global issue on a local scale is going to result in grave imbalances in burden but a shared consequence nonetheless.

  31. - NorthsideNoMore - Thursday, Feb 14, 19 @ 8:01 am:

    Nuke plants are Carbon free they should get the same deal solar and wind get or got. These plants contribute huge dollars to the local and state economies simply closing them would be a hot mess. Illinois has cheap electric rates which is one of the few advantages business has in locating here, shuttering them would sky rocket prices.

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 14, 19 @ 8:26 am:

    There are several big problems with nuclear that do not occur with renewables. Namely, waste disposal (a huge and costly problem), massive cost of the plant and upkeep, and potential catastrophic accidents that have occurred elsewhere in the world. These do not happen with wind and solar, Nuclear cannot compete when these costs are included. The power industry wants those costs socialized so the plants can be considered profitable.

    Who paid to build those plants? Ratepayers. Who is receiving the power? Much of it goes out of state to people who don’t subsidize the plants. Tell them to take a hike, but stick them with decommissioning.

  33. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 14, 19 @ 8:50 am:

    –Nuke plants are Carbon free they should get the same deal solar and wind get or got.–

    LOL, yeah, I don’t think Exelon is looking for start-up chicken-feed. Not their style.

    They go for billions when they take hostages. The rate surcharge on consumers for QC and Clinton was $235 million a year for 10 years, more than $100K a year for every “job saved.”

    And you realize Exelon banked $3.8 billion in profits in its last fiscal year?

  34. - Kennymeboy - Thursday, Feb 14, 19 @ 5:28 pm:

    Do you think global warming/climate change is real? Then you’d better hope the nuclear plants don’t shut down.

  35. - and the Americanway - Tuesday, Feb 26, 19 @ 5:46 pm:

    By 2025 90% of all nuclear plants will need a subsidy. over 10% have them now….

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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