Massive electric rate increases across the state will be avoided and nuclear power plants in Clinton and Cordova would stay operational - saving thousands of jobs - under energy reform legislation (Senate Bill 2814) passed by the Illinois Senate Dec. 1.
State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), who represents Clinton, has been a leader on the issue, working with key stakeholders and advocating for the legislature to pass energy reform.
“This was a generational choice for the state of Illinois, and I am pleased the legislature did the right thing,” Rose said. “Today’s action – and Gov. Rauner’s approval - not only protects energy consumers from massive rate hikes, it ensures reliable, clean, and cheap power for years to come. It also protects our region from losing thousands of good paying jobs. It’s is a win for all energy consumers, working families, the state’s energy portfolio, our energy future, and communities that hold these plants in their backyard.”
In June, Exelon announced they would close their Clinton plant in June of 2017 and their Cordova plant in June of 2018, unless the legislature acted on energy reforms.
Sen. Rose points to a recent study released by economists at The Brattle Group, a global consulting firm, which highlighted the dire situation if the legislature failed to act and the two nuclear plants closed. It found that residential customers would see their electric bills hiked to the tune of $115 million annually, while businesses would see their bills spike $249 million annually without these plants in operation. That’s an increase of $3.1 billion over the next 10 years.
Sen. Rose says this study is in line with a previous Illinois Commerce Commission report and comments from the Midcontinent Independent Survey Operator (MISO), an independent grid operator, that also show doing nothing and allowing the two nuclear plants to close would result in long-term energy issues for the state and much higher costs for consumers.
“The lower cost of power in Illinois is one of the very few things Illinois has going for itself when it comes to recruiting businesses here and keeping jobs here,” Rose said. “I can’t overstate this enough that this legislation will keep jobs in Illinois and protect families from devastating rate increases for generations to come.”
The Clinton Power Plant provides 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in and around DeWitt County and has an annual payroll of $63 million. It also provides $7 million in economic impact for Clinton and the surrounding area and 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.
“I want to thank Gov. Rauner and his Administration, my fellow legislators, Exelon, local officials, and most importantly, the families of those employed at the plant,” Rose said. “Working families across the state and DeWitt County can breathe a lot easier. Today was a bright spot for Illinois and the state’s future.”