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Illinois Manufacturers Say Exelon Energy Deal May Hurt Competitiveness

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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner frequently talks about the need to grow the state's economy. However, manufacturers say the energy law he signed yesterday will make it harder for them to compete.

The law requires residential and business customers to pay a subsidy to Exelon so they can  keep nuclear power plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities open. 

Mark Denzler of the Illinois Manufacturer's Association says the hike in electric rates will cost some of his members millions of dollars per year.

"Certainly for manufacturing companies energy prices are often the single most expensive cost they have, even more than personnel," he said.

Denzler says Illinois' relatively low energy prices had been a boon for business.  

Advocates of the new law say it saves jobs and reinvigorates the renewable energy industry. Exelon threatened to lay off thousands of workers in Clinton and the Quad Cities if the subsidy wasn't passed.   

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.