SPRINGFIELD — A bill aimed at helping Exelon's money-losing nuclear plants near Clinton and the Quad-Cities likely won't make it out of the spring legislative session, but the company hasn't yet confirmed it will close the two plants.
"The general consensus is that it’s dead for this session," said Henry Marquard, director of government relations for the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce. He said he had spoken with an aide to the bill's main sponsor, state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, as well as others at the Capitol.
The News-Gazette of Champaign also reported that Trotter has pulled the plug on the bill proposing what Exelon calls the “Next Generation Power Plan,” saying time had run out with the scheduled end of the spring legislative session on Tuesday.
“We have not received any official word yet from Exelon," said Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marian Brisard in a statement Tuesday. "We would also urge our government officials to realize the seriousness of this issue and address it accordingly.”
Brisard said the Chamber will continue "supporting the efforts to keep the Clinton Power Station open.”
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, whose district includes the Clinton plant, also called on Tuesday for the Legislature to act.
“As the Legislature goes into overtime session, yet again, it is time for the Senate Democrat majorities to quickly finalize negotiations and send this bill over to the House,” he said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Exelon had said that if legislation wasn't passed by the end of the spring session, it would close its plant near Clinton in 2017 and the one near the Quad-Cities in 2018.
Exelon says the legislation would put its nuclear plants on an even footing with other low-carbon-emission energy providers that receive subsidies. The bill also would establish a surcharge on utility customers that would help the nuclear plants, which Exelon said have lost more than $800 million over the past seven years, and change how some consumer rates are calculated.
Consumer groups and others have objected to the legislation, calling it a bailout for a profitable company.