8/27/15 – PJM Auction gives Exelon $653 million windfall; ComEd customers stuck paying $100 more per year

August 27, 2015

David Jakubiak, ELPC

Emily Rosenwasser,
Sierra Club, 312-251-1680 x119

Angela Guyadeen, NRDC

PJM Auction gives Exelon $653 million windfall;
ComEd customers stuck paying $100 more per year.
But, passing Illinois Clean Jobs will save customers nearly $100 per year
A recent electricity auction that will lead to higher bills for ComEd customers and reward ComEd-parent company Exelon with a new windfall worth hundreds of millions of dollars only
heightens the urgency of passing the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, which would cut consumers’ electricity costs by an average of $100 per year, members of a statewide coalition said today.
The Chicago Tribune reported that a recent auction conducted by multi-state grid operator PJM Interconnection LLP “may bring Exelon roughly $400 million in additional revenue from its
northern Illinois nuclear plants” over last year’s auction. A separate analysis estimated that the auction will mean a $653 million windfall for Exelon. (See: tinyurl.com/pxc4oa6 )

Citing industry experts, the Tribune reported that the “auction will increase part of the average ComEd residential customer’s electricity bill in 2018-19 by roughly $82 a year compared with
what customers are paying now, and by about $100 a year compared with what they might pay in 2017-18.” (See: tinyurl.com/olh2mcf). ComEd is a subsidiary of Exelon.

By contrast, the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill will save Illinois energy customers an average of nearly $100 annually, according to the Citizens Utility Board (CUB).

CUB, the state’s top utility watchdog, found that customers would save $1.6 billion by 2030 under the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (SB1485/HB2607). For the average residential consumer, that translates into savings of more than $98 per year, a reduction of 7.86%. CUB’s figure of $1.6 billion represents a mid-range estimate, with potential savings reaching as high as $2.2 billion.
(See: http://www.citizensutilityboard.org/newsReleases20150416_CleanJobsModeling.html ) “The numbers show that the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill is the only consumer-friendly energy legislation in Springfield,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill stands in stark contrast to other energy bills pending in Springfield. Exelon, which enjoyed profits of $1.3 billion in just the first half of 2015, introduced legislation
that would give the company a ratepayer-funded bailout of $300 million. Exelon subsidiary ComEd has introduced a separate bill that would allow it, among other things, to charge customers for the cost of new revenue-generating investments that would benefit the company. “The Clean Jobs bill is the best path to saving customers more money, helping the state meet new power plant standards and creating jobs. Given the recent results of the electricity auction, the need for action on this bill has never been more urgent,” Kolata added.

“The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill will help put more dollars back in the wallets of Illinois families and it’s is the only bill under consideration that does so,” said Becky Stanfield, Midwest Program
Deputy Director of Policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“But equally important, the bill would propel our utilities to make significant investments in cleaner sources of energy like wind and solar power. Cleaner air means healthier people — a priceless opportunity for children and communities in our state and beyond,” Stanfield added. Both CUB and NRDC are members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, which includes more than
50 organizations and 150 businesses.

This was the second time in 2015 that a large number of Illinois electricity customers learned that they would pay higher bills with the funds going to a windfall for Exelon. This summer, ratepayers in Central and Southern Illinois saw their bills go up as result of an auction conducted by MISO, which oversees the grid covering downstate Illinois. That auction, too, will
result in millions of dollars in new revenues for Exelon, while the average customer in that region will see their bills go up by as much as $150 on average per year.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is made up of Illinois businesses and organizations representing the state’s environmental, business and faith communities. Currently, more than 150 businesses and 50 organizations have formally joined the coalition to promote steps to improve the Illinois environment, help consumers, improve public health, and create tens of thousands of new jobs across the state.