It should surprise no-one that a utility that relies on dirty energy to make its money also plays dirty when its money is threatened or when a state legislature is considering whether to bail out the company with its constituents' money.
So don't be surprised that yes indeed, gasp, Exelon is playing dirty in Illinois. And just about everywhere else too.
Dave Kraft of Illinois' Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) reports that some NEIS members have received unidentified robocalls on their home phones, urging them to call their state legislators to "support clean renewable energy."
The problem is, the bill the robocalls support is Exelon's bill to establish a "low carbon portfolio standard" − that's the bill that was written to bail out Exelon's uneconomic reactors in Illinois and prevent the expansion of "clean renewable energy" in the state.1
NEIS, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and those honestly in favor of clean energy are supporting a different bill also before the legislature, SB 1485/HB 2607, that actually would encourage clean energy in the state − and wouldn't bail out Exelon's failing nukes in the process.
Crain's Chicago Business, which continues to be the best source of reporting on Exelon and its machinations, recently reported that Exelon subsidiary Commonwealth Edison − the state's largest distribution utility − "wants to make it illegal in Illinois to count the benefits of lowering energy prices when deciding which energy efficiency projects should qualify for ratepayer-funded financial assistance."2
In other words, while even Commonwealth Edison can't discount the fact that energy efficiency is cleaner than electricity generation, it wants the other main benefit of improving efficiency − lower electricity prices for ratepayers − to be ignored entirely.
Why? Because holding back gains in energy efficiency would help out Exelon's six uneconomic reactors. Improving efficiency means less generation is needed. By attempting to sabotage the state's efficiency programs, Commonwealth Edison is trying to ensure that electricity demand goes up, making it at least somewhat more likely those reactors would be useful. In fact, those reactors still wouldn't be needed; but the numbers conceivably could be manipulated enough to make it appear so.
It is vital that we reach everyone possible in Illinois to counter Exelon's proposed nuclear bailout. That's a bailout that would cost ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars and provide them with nothing but the electricity they would receive even without the bailout. But instead of coming from cleaner energy sources, and helping to expand Illinois' clean energy programs, the bailout would ensure that Illinois' power would continue to come from dirty, aging and expensive nuclear reactors.
Stopping Exelon's efforts to promote nuclear power at the expense of renewables and energy efficiency is the most important state action this year − and the outcome will have national implications.3
If you have any friends at all, any relatives, business colleagues, if a part of any e-mail list you're on, includes anyone from Illinois, please send them this link to the NIRS action page: http://tinyurl.com/exelon-nukes