Legislation co-sponsored by State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) that would protect consumers by capping future electric rate increases—requested by the Clinton Nuclear Power Plant to give it a chance to avoid closing—went before the Senate Energy Committee May 19.
During the testimony-only hearing at the Statehouse, officials from Exelon, the City of Clinton, and legislators spoke of the dire need to pass Senate Bill 1585.
“The threat of the Clinton Power Plant closing is very real,” Rose said. “We need to give them every opportunity possible to keep this plant open and preserve 1,900 jobs in east central Illinois.”
During the hearing, Tim Followell, the City of Clinton Administrator, testified in strong support of helping keep the Clinton Power Plant in operation, pointing out that it provides roughly 50 percent of property tax revenue for the city.
The Clinton Power Plant provides property tax revenue of nearly $12 million, of which $7.6 million goes to the Clinton School District, $2 million to DeWitt County, and $1 million to Richland Community College.
Followell said closure could result in classroom size for the Clinton School District jumping to 32 students per class, and force the district to consider reducing the number of teachers.
“It is our lifeline as far as DeWitt County is concerned,” Followell said. “The average median salary at the Clinton plant is $90,000 a year. If you look at our geographical area, that’s huge.”
In addition, the Clinton Power Plant supports nearly 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in and around DeWitt County, has an annual payroll of $63 million, and provides $7 million in economic impact for Clinton and the surrounding area.
“Moreover, the Clinton Power Plant provides 20 percent of the baseload capacity on the grid,” Rose said. “To lose that kind of volume would mean a massive rate increase on downstate citizens. We are running out of time.”