In a last minute bid to gain support ahead of Illinois' veto session, a massive piece of energy legislation is being scaled back. Exelon says unless lawmakers pass a bill next week, the corporation will close nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.
It wants permission to increase rates on customers in order to keep them open. Fidel Marquez, a top executive with Exelon subsidiary ComEd, says that 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."
Critics say it's a case of a profitable corporation seeking a bailout on the backs of consumers. But other concessions might be enough to keep opponents at bay. Today 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.
Exelon also now says it will keep the two nuclear plants open for another dozen years, versus only half that time. The loose compromise also leaves out plans to support downstate coal-fired plants owned by Dynegy. Negotiators met today in Chicago. They say talks will continue over the Thanksgiving holiday.