* Steve Daniels…
One year after Exelon convinced state lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner to bail out nuclear power plants, the second-largest power generator in Illinois has decided it’s its turn. Houston-based Dynegy will push for the General Assembly to consider legislation in next month’s veto session that would likely hike electric bills in downstate Illinois to preserve at least some of the company’s financially ailing fleet of coal-fired power plants. Dynegy’s plants are by far the largest source of electricity downstate.
The move follows recent news that Dynegy and the Rauner administration are working to soften state environmental standards on pollutants emitted by coal burners. The proposal, which was submitted Oct. 2 to the Illinois Pollution Control Board for approval, angered environmentalists who negotiated the standards with the coal industry more than a decade ago. […]
Dynegy’s Illinois proposal, which will surface by month’s end in the form of legislative language, would have the state take over the pricing of “capacity”—ratepayer payments to generators for the promise to deliver during peak demand periods. Currently, that’s handled by Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, the power-grid operator for southern Illinois and much of the Midwest. As energy prices have plummeted, these capacity payments—embedded in the overall electricity prices consumers and businesses pay regardless of whether they buy from utilities or alternative suppliers—have become a far more important part of plant operators’ revenue streams.
But MISO’s most recent capacity auction resulted in a paltry $1.50 per megawatt-day for the southern half of the state. By contrast, plants in the northern half, operating under a different capacity system, are being paid $153.61 per megawatt-day right now. For the average household, the difference between the two is about $115 a year. […]
Ellis stops short of saying Dynegy will close its entire downstate Illinois fleet, or even specific plants, if it doesn’t get relief. But there’s little financial risk to the company in doing so. It essentially paid nothing to acquire the downstate Illinois plants of St. Louis-based Ameren in 2013.
Asking Springfield to endorse a rate increase for all of downstate Illinois heading into a campaign year will be a challenge. Dynegy’s reticence to state the specific consequences of inaction likely will make delay until after November 2018 attractive for lawmakers and Rauner.
* Another reason to wait…
State subsidies to keep open two nuclear power plants took effect in June, hiking electric bills for all homes and businesses. But the ripple effects from last year’s Future Energy Jobs Act may well lead to future increases on top of the new surcharges.
The organization that sets the rules for the wholesale power markets from northern Illinois east to Washington, D.C. , is contemplating changes that would compensate the owners of unsubsidized power plants for the potential harm the subsidies pose to the competitive market. […]
The initiative is in direct response to Illinois’ nuclear subsidies. PJM is charged first with ensuring there’s enough power to keep the lights on during peak demand and secondly with keeping the power markets competitive. […]
Effectively, Chicago-area ratepayers could be paying twice to keep the same plants open. That’s because the subsidies for Exelon are nearly certain to remain at the state-imposed annual limit of $235 million for the decade they’ll be in effect despite provisions in the law calling for the subsidies to decline when market revenues rise. At Exelon’s insistence, the Future Energy Jobs Act was written in such a way to keep the subsidies flowing in most foreseeable market conditions.
“With most of the proposals on the table, Illinois likely will get penalized for the state approving the subsidies to produce cleaner air,” says Greg Poulos, executive director of Columbus, Ohio-based Consumer Advocates of PJM States. […]
Demanding action from PJM are Exelon competitors NRG Energy, based in Princeton, N.J., and Houston-based Dynegy. NRG operates coal- and gas-fired plants serving the Chicago market, and Dynegy is the second-largest generator in Illinois, running a mainly coal-fired fleet downstate.
More than 60 percent of Americans think climate change is a problem that the government should address, including 80 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Republicans, according to a new survey from the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Those numbers were even higher when limited to those who say they believe in climate change. Seven in 10 Republicans and nearly all Democrats who believe climate change is happening agree that the government needs to take action, the poll found.
“Public opinion around many energy issues tends to be fluid, with people often defaulting to partisan starting points,” said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center, in a statement. “Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans agree that climate change is happening, and there are signs that consensus could happen on other issues, too.”
…Adding… Press release…
The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition issued the following statement today in the wake of a report published by Crain’s Chicago Business detailing a possible legislative bailout for Dynegy, Inc:
“On Friday, Crain’s Chicago Business broke a story suggesting that backroom discussions could lead to possible bailout legislation for Dynegy in the upcoming veto session, forcing downstate Illinois residential customers and businesses to subsidize this giant out-of-state corporation. This latest backroom deal comes on the heels of news that Governor Rauner’s office and Dynegy worked behind-the-scenes for several months on a new rule that would undermine pollution controls just to pad Dynegy’s profits at the expense of the public. This corporate bailout would represent an unfair rate hike on customers and small businesses in Central and Southern Illinois and would contain no benefits whatsoever to any party besides Dynegy. With new power coming on line under the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), the majority of it expected to be located in Central and Southern Illinois, we urge lawmakers to reject Dynegy’s bailout that would impose new costs on downstate consumers and small businesses and pose new risks to the public’s health in order to shore-up the profits of an out-of-state energy giant. At a time when President Trump and his coal cronies are already moving to bail out companies like Texas-based Dynegy, Illinois needs to do exactly the opposite and prepare for a clean energy future.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
* We had a lot of fun with this on Twitter over the weekend…
* From his website’s bio…
Madigan learned about service at a young age: His father was ward superintendent for their Southwest Side neighborhood, and when his father passed unexpectedly, the younger Madigan stepped up to ensure local residents would still get their snow shoveled, streets plowed and trash collected.
Madigan continues to serve the people of his community, maintaining a top-rated constituent service office. Madigan’s office helps hundreds of seniors clear snow after winter storms and he makes sure homebound residents get check-in calls during extreme hot or cold weather.
While the city can take weeks to remove graffiti, Madigan’s office operates its own graffiti blaster and has a full-time team that removes graffiti as soon as it is reported.
Madigan is also working to provide property tax relief to local homeowners by hosting regular tax appeal seminars, helping local seniors receive tax exemptions and working with local residents to reclaim more than $1 million in overpaid taxes.
Madigan was first elected as a delegate to the 1970 state Constitutional Convention and then as a state Representative the same year. As Speaker of the House, Madigan has worked to build consensuses, improve the quality of life for residents across all regions of Illinois and address Illinois’ most pressing issues in a cooperative and bipartisan manner. He advocates for honest, efficient government and has fought to strengthen the financial security of middle-class families. Under his leadership, the Legislature has enacted sweeping ethics laws, the first campaign finance limits in state history, and needed reforms to the state budget process and workers’ compensation system.
* He’s advertising the site on Facebook…
* Like I said, we had some fun with this one…
Your own thoughts?
*** UPDATE *** You had to know this was coming. From the ILGOP…
“More than four decades of destruction with massive pension debt, unbalanced budgets, machine politics, and self-dealing - that’s the Madigan record. Welcome to the 21st century, Speaker Madigan, but pictures of you sporting a smile with children won’t save you from all the damage you’ve done to Illinois.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot
Longtime Speaker of the House and technological dinosaur Mike Madigan shocked the internets on Friday when Capitol Fax reported to the Twittersphere that Madigan has finally entered the 21st century with the creation of a new Facebook page and website, both ironically branded as “Madigan for Us,” with “us” being insiders, special interests, and the political class.
Madigan’s newfound internet presence showcases pictures of a smiling Madigan reading to children, enjoying a cup of coffee with fellow senior citizens, and telling wisecracks to area youngsters outside a grocery store.
But after taking a brief look through the comments on Madigan’s inaugural Facebook post, one will quickly realize that voters aren’t buying the spin.
Madigan is known to virtually all Illinoisans and not in a good way. He has been described as “the constant in key decisions that created the mess.” Under Madigan’s watch, Illinois has seen:
Four income tax hikes, taking billions of dollars from Illinois families
Years of pension holidays that led to over $130 billion in debt for Illinois’ five pension systems
Spending rum amok with over fifteen years of budget deficits
Highest in the nation property taxes for Illinois homeowners
All of which has led to the highest in the nation out-migration
Unfortunately for Madigan, staged pictures of him sporting a smile won’t save him from his decades of destruction.
- Posted by Rich Miller
|Our sorry state
Monday, Oct 16, 2017
…Adding… From comments…
It’s especially comical since CPS is one of the biggest districts in the nation. So a large chunk of our population is in one school district, and the other 10 million are split into 904. Apparently downstate really likes subdividing everything from schools to counties into minuscule parts.
- Posted by Rich Miller
*** UPDATE *** From IL AFL-CIO President Mike Carrigan…
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
I very much regret the unfavorable references recently made to Hanah Jubeh and her consulting firm, P2, in the IL State Federation News Update. Ms. Jubeh has provided professional services to many unions over the years and I know that her work is held in very high regard.
There was absolutely no sexist intent in what was published. The IL AFL-CIO has long been a strong supporter of equal rights for women and it pains me greatly that anyone might have a contrary impression.
I have apologized to Hanah Jubeh and assured her that such an incident will not happen again. It is my sincere hope that we can all move forward together to accomplish our shared goal of a better Illinois for all working families.
* The JB Pritzker campaign is finally responding to that allegation of sexism by Chris Kennedy’s chief fundraiser against the Illinois AFL-CIO. From Galia Slayen…
“It was not appropriate to go after staff.”
* But SEIU’s leaders were far harsher...
Leaders of one of the most politically active labor unions in the state blasted the president of the Illinois AFL-CIO on Friday for what they called “unwarranted attacks” on a longtime Democratic consultant. […]
“Your recent singling-out of Jubeh highlights a sexist mindset toward women that has no place in politics, the labor movement or anywhere else in society,” wrote SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff and the clout-heavy group’s secretary-treasurer, Laura Garza.
“It denotes a hostility toward women who refuse to ‘fall in line’ with their male counterparts. … We demand an apology for your unacceptable behavior.”
Carrigan did not respond to requests for comment.
* And the Kennedy campaign did some fundraising off the controversy over the weekend…
I need to bring something to your attention because it represents the state of our politics today, it’s indicative of the political system we have here in Illinois, and it’s personal.
This week, the President of the Illinois AFL-CIO bullied a senior advisor to my campaign. He insulted my campaign and he used her as a pawn for his criticism.
Not my campaign manager. He was never mentioned.
Not my political director. Not a single negative word was directed his way.
Not my media consultant. His name never came up.
Only Hanah. A successful small business owner, a strong political strategist - a woman.
Hanah has a long career fighting for labor. Many in the community can attest to it, and they have. Quickly after a Sun-Times reporter exposed two incidents in which Mike Carrigan made cutting remarks about her for choosing to work on my campaign, members of the labor community spoke out on her behalf.
It is no coincidence that Mike Carrigan is an ally to Speaker Madigan or that he has endorsed my opponent J.B. Pritzker. It’s no coincidence because this is what the insider political game looks like. He is picking on her because he wants her to feel intimidated. He wants my campaign to lose her talent, and ultimately, they all want me out of this race. Members of the labor community have indicated that the criticism is being directed toward her because she is a woman, and he wants her to “fall in line”.
It’s a disgraceful, egregious display of sexism that has no place in our politics, and it’s a glaring example of why people in our state desperately want to rid this system of insiders who stand by and let such bullying occur.
If this were a supporter of mine, I would condemn his behavior. In the very least, I’d demand that he apologize because for me, this race is about more than politics. It’s about bringing integrity back to our political system and bringing real leadership back to our state government. But J.B. Pritzker and his campaign have stood silent when they could have stood up to the establishment. If he won’t stand up to them now when they are clearly in the wrong, how can we trust him to do that as governor?
Hanah, I stand by you.
Thank you for standing by me and by our campaign.
SIGN UP TO PASS PETITIONS
- Posted by Rich Miller
* My Crain’s Chicago Business column…
State agencies under the governor’s control are required to report the amount of unpaid bills they have not yet submitted to the state’s comptroller for payment.
The supremely goofy “Only in Illinois” part is, the agencies are required to make that report just once a year. And the information is always badly outdated by then.
Comptroller Susana Mendoza, the state’s bill-payer, can look at payment and revenue histories to approximate how many bills she has to pay every month and how much money may be available. But after more than two years with no budget and Gov. Bruce Rauner signing state contracts without official legislative appropriations, there are a lot of unknowns right now. Mendoza thinks there may be somewhere around $1.2 billion in spending that the General Assembly never approved. But she doesn’t know for sure.
To give you an idea of how ridiculous this process is, the state’s bill backlog unexpectedly grew by $1 billion one day in May when the governor’s Office of Management & Budget abruptly revealed the unpaid invoices.
The comptroller has to plan ahead to make the state’s bond payments so she doesn’t accidentally trigger a credit downgrade (which would put the state into junk bond territory). She has to make regular (and huge) state pension payments, and schools rely on their state funding to keep their doors open. So plopping $1 billion in new bills on her desk without warning can cause all sorts of very real problems.
Some of the state’s approximately $15 billion in unpaid bills qualify for an interest penalty, designed to help businesses and not-for-profit groups that aren’t being paid in a timely manner. But, in yet another “Only in Illinois” quirk, state law doesn’t require state agencies to tell the person who pays all the bills which invoices qualify for that penalty. So all Mendoza can do is guesstimate what is owed, and she thinks it may be nearing $1 billion.
In February, Mendoza had legislation introduced to require state agencies to tell her
Click here to read the rest before commenting, please. Thanks.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Wordslinger noticed something in the GOMB presentation to bond buyers that I missed….
Approximately $2.8 billion in State General Funds operational liabilities were not appropriated in FY 2017, but these may be paid from future year appropriations
*** UPDATE 2 *** Pritzker campaign…
“$2.8 billion in unappropriated spending is just the latest cost of Bruce Rauner’s budget crisis,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Illinois is drowning in bills manufactured by this failed governor and his damage is done.”
* State Comptroller’s Office: Checks Are in the Mail to Prevent Utility Shutoffs at Centralia Prison: “The bills have already been at the Department of Corrections for several months by the time they get to us. Most of the bills we’re paying for the state right now, we’re still paying bills from January to the state. So they talked about this being sort of an important bill they need to get paid right away so they can continue to get service at the prison so we bumped it up and paid those bills.”
* Editorial: Rauner’s DTA veto makes less sense by the day
* Our View: Debtor in denial
* Some Republicans may change their votes on bills governor vetoed
- Posted by Rich Miller
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