Exelon Generation and Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) announced on May 5 that they plan to support comprehensive legislation – called the Next Generation Energy Plan – that will comprise major elements of three bills that did not win approval in the last session of the Illinois General Assembly. Among the anticipated benefits of the measure are lower costs for utility customers.
ComEd, an Exelon company, serves more than 3.8 million customers across the northern Illinois region.
Among the bills that failed to gain traction during 2015 in Springfield were HB 3293, which would have provided financial backing for Exelon’s nuclear plants in the Prairie State; HB 2607/SB1485, a ComEd-supported measure, which would have revised rates and provided support for new renewable energy projects; and HB 3328/SB1879, sponsored by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, which would have raised the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and increased energy efficiency efforts in the state.
The new measure is described by Exelon and ComEd as “a bill with strong bipartisan, labor, and community support that would drive Illinois’ clean energy future while saving and creating jobs and strengthening the state’s economy.”
The bill grew out of discussions between Exelon Generation, ComEd, the Clean Jobs Coalition, and other stakeholders in the year since all three entities supported separate energy legislation in the Assembly.
According to its supporters, the new measure:
- Reduces the fixed customer charge for energy delivery by 50 percents and creates more equitable rates, giving customers more control over their bills;
- Nearly doubles energy efficiency programs
- Provides for $1 billion of funding for low-income assistance, mostly through energy efficiency;
- Jumpstarts solar energy development in Illinois with rebates and more than $140 million in new funding for solar development
- Introduces a Zero Emission Standard;
- Saves 4,200 jobs in Illinois; and
- Preserves over $1.2 billion in economic activity annually.
“I don’t want Illinois electricity prices to go up and I want to see Illinois build upon our clean energy leadership. I’m backing the Next Generation Energy Plan because it will provide opportunities for consumers to save on their energy bills, protect and create good-paying jobs, and boost our economy,” said State Senator Donne Trotter (D). “It also will deliver a cleaner, greener and more secure energy future for Illinois, while providing significant funding for struggling families and ensuring the continued operation of our nuclear fleet.”
“Thousands of people across Illinois are gainfully employed at our state’s six nuclear energy facilities, but those jobs are at risk,” said Dean Apple, president, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 15. “While also providing for new clean jobs through energy efficiency and new funding for solar, this legislation would rescue our struggling nuclear plants from being shut down and protect the jobs and other economic benefits that they generate for Illinois, including the large role they have played in Illinois holding the national record for the lowest percentage increase in electricity rates since 1997.”
“We’ve listened and responded to key environmental and consumer advocates to develop comprehensive legislation that incorporates policy solutions that will benefit all of our customers, while creating innovative pathways to a sustainable future,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president, Government and External affairs, ComEd. “This plan delivers significant energy efficiency, a major expansion of solar power, a more secure grid, and important programs for our most vulnerable customers and communities.”
The group today said it would work with the General Assembly to file a bill that could be passed before the end of this spring session, to generate immediate benefits for Illinois families and preserve clean energy jobs. The group estimates the legislation would have a modest impact of 25 cents per month on the average ComEd residential customer bill, while providing for the economic, environmental, and societal impacts detailed above.