Illinois lawmakers introduced an electricity rate increase meant to save two western Illinois nuclear power plants, and their associated jobs. However, the measure is facing significant opposition.
Exelon, ComEd's parent company, says it's losing money on nuclear power plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities. Critics say the measure is a bailout -- and the largest rate increase in Illinois history. Lobbyist Dave Lundy urged lawmakers to reject the plan.
"We can't hold back the market forces indefinitely without destroying our competitive markets and increasing costs on almost every person and every business in our state," he said.
AARP's Julie Vahling noted that -- unlike food, shelter, and other necessities -- people have few options when it comes to obtaining electricity.
"The publicized profits Exelon and companies like Commonwealth Edison continue to report are reason enough that consumers should not be asked to bail out the successful corporation," she said.
Natural gas fracking has lowered overall energy prices and, by extension, reduced operating profits for nuclear power plants. Some environmentalists say low-carbon nuclear energy ought to be supported, particularly with concerns over global warming.