A deal may keep Exelon’s Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants open for the foreseeable future. The company says it will shut down the plants unless lawmakers pass a bill allowing it to raise electricity rates.
Fidel Marquez, an executive with Exelon subsidiary ComEd, believes the rate hike will save jobs and keep energy rates competitive.
"It's pretty Basic micro economics, that when you reduce the supply a significant amount, energy prices in the state will rise," he said.
Critics say Exelon is seeking a bailout on the backs of consumers. But other concessions might be enough to keep opponents at bay. ComEd announced it's dropping a request to change how consumers are charged for energy, in a way that could have led to unpredictable billing.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he wants to protect all the jobs he can at Exelon nuclear plants that are slated to close unless they get help from the state. But says any measure that passes out of the legislature to help plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities cannot mean skyrocketing energy costs for customer - both residential and business.
“We can’t have our energy costs go through the roof, or we’ll lose more jobs. If we raise the energy costs for entrepreneurs that need to consume a lot of energy, they’ll lay people off, saving some jobs at a plant won’t matter. So we need a balance,” Rauner said.
Exelon also says it will keep the two nuclear plants open for another dozen years, as opposed to half that time. Negotiations will continue over the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Amanda Vinicky and Brian Moline contributed to this report