Today, Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, parent company of BGE, introduced legislation in Illinois to subsidize their aging and expensive nuclear power fleet in the state. Marylanders should take note of this proposal and its implications, especially as Exelon pursues a merger with Pepco Holdings.
As Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr explains in a statement, "For more than a year, Exelon has campaigned to convince decision makers and the public that the critical energy policy question facing Illinois is what to do to prop up Exelon’s allegedly struggling nuclear power plants. Today, to the surprise of no one, Exelon answered their own question with legislation that asks Illinois ratepayers to pony up to pad Exelon’s profits."
Exelon has proposed a takeover of Pepco Holdings which is the utlitity company for many Marylanders. Maryland PIRG, along with consumer groups, environmental groups, faith groups, and others, oppose the merger.
Part of Maryland PIRG's opposition stems from Exelon's business model, which is reliant on a fleet of aging and expensive nuclear power plants, including 2 at Calvert Cliffs in MD, and many in Illinois.
Despite Exelon reporting $2 billion in profits last year, this Illinois bill would increase Illionois' ratepayers' electric bills in order to prop up Exelon’s nuclear plants. Ratepayers in Illinois would be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in additional charges on their electric bills.
Not only is this bill bad for Illinois ratepayers, it is also a clear warning of the risks that go along with a merger in Maryland. Giving Exelon control of 85% of the utility generation and distribution in MD puts ratepayers at risk of being held captive by Exelon's ratehikes and of subsidizing Exelon's aging nuclear fleet in MD and across the country.