WBEZ | Illinois Commerce Commission http://www.wbez.org/tags/illinois-commerce-commission Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Energy suppliers challenge the lawfulness of a 'clean coal' subsidy http://www.wbez.org/news/energy-suppliers-challenge-lawfulness-clean-coal-subsidy-105828 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F81254444&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/938pre_02d8b79bfc7983a.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ) A coal-fired power plant in Illinois" />A group of energy companies is challenging a likely increase in the price of electricity. They say energy from FutureGen, a proposed coal plant project in central Illinois, would cost more for consumers.</p><p>FutureGen is developing an ambitious coal plant and storage facility in Morgan County that would remove almost all of the carbon dioxide from emissions and transport it to a storage facility that would push the gas deep underground. The project&rsquo;s proponents include Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.</p><p>Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that has been linked to climate change.</p><p>In December, the Illinois Commerce Commission approved a plan that would require energy suppliers to buy part of their power from FutureGen over a 20-year period. The estimated price increase to consumers would be less than 1.5 percent, below the 2 percent cap state law places on new costs for clean energy projects.</p><p>But a group of private suppliers is fighting the ICC decision through the Illinois Appellate Court. Commonwealth Edison also has filed a separate challenge to the order.</p><div style="margin:0;">&ldquo;Why should consumers be subsidizing power that is above today&rsquo;s market price for electricity?&rdquo; said Kevin Wright, president of the Illinois Competitive Energy Association. He represents a consortium of companies who provide electricity. He said requiring his clients to participate in what he called a &quot;subsidy&quot; for so-called clean coal is unlawful and works to undermine a competitive electricity market. He also argued Illinois does not need any new power sources.</div><p>Advocates say FutureGen will turn Meredosia power plant into a cutting-edge clean coal facility. But the project has run into many roadblocks since its inception in 2006, including <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/scitech/science/illinois-lurch-futuregen" target="_blank">a struggle to find a location</a> in 2008, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/report-math-error-killed-futuregen" target="_blank">political drama in 2009</a> over misestimating the cost of the plant, and a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/futuregen-hits-another-snag" target="_blank">loss of key funders</a> that same year.&nbsp;</p><p>In 2011, FutureGen was declared to be underway again, this time as FutureGen 2.0, and a $1 billion grant from the federal government gave the project new viability. A 2011 fact sheet from FutureGen puts the project cost at $1.3 billion, and says the plant will create 2,000 jobs.</p><p>On Wednesday Sen. Durbin released a statement putting ComEd&rsquo;s parent company Exelon on the hot seat for withdrawing from the FutureGen Alliance and then mounting a court challenge to the funding plan. Last month Exelon announced it would pull out of the group of companies lending support to the plan, although <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130228/NEWS11/130229710/durbin-blasts-exelon-for-futuregen-betrayal" target="_blank">Crain&#39;s reported</a> Exelon said it was never officially a member of the Alliance.</p><p>&ldquo;Exelon sent its smiling representatives to press conferences lauding the value of FutureGen,&rdquo; said Durbin. &ldquo;Then last month, Exelon abruptly resigned from the FutureGen Alliance without explanation and today we learned Exelon has filed an appeal challenging the ICC ruling which is critical part of our FutureGen strategy. This heavy-handed corporate betrayal has few parallels in Illinois history.&rdquo;</p><p>Representatives of the FutureGen Alliance were not available to comment Wednesday, but a spokesperson said in an email that &ldquo;appeals are a normal part of the process and will be resolve (sic) in due time. In parallel, FutureGen 2.0&rsquo;s development activities will continue without disruption.&rdquo;</p><p>A spokesperson for the ICC declined to comment until she&rsquo;s seen the court filing, but said the commission stands by its December order.</p><p>Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisPants" target="_blank">Lewis Wallace on Twitter.</a></p></p> Thu, 28 Feb 2013 15:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/energy-suppliers-challenge-lawfulness-clean-coal-subsidy-105828 Heat wave leads ComEd to suspend electricity shutoffs http://www.wbez.org/story/heat-wave-leads-comed-suspend-electricity-shutoffs-89494 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-21/ComEd.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Northern Illinois residents behind on their electricity bills don’t have to worry about Commonwealth Edison disconnecting them. They don’t, that is, until the heat wave lets up.</p><p>If a day’s National Weather Service forecast predicts temperatures of at least 95 degrees, Illinois prohibits a big power company from disconnecting homes that depend on the juice to keep cool.</p><p>ComEd spokeswoman Arlana Johnson late Thursday said her company, given the heat, had not cut off any of its residential customers since last week. “We have been evaluating that on a daily basis,” she added.</p><p>The company’s restraint won praise from Elce Redmond, an organizer of the South Austin Coalition, a neighborhood group on Chicago’s West Side that is pushing for an overhaul of utility shutoff policies. “That’s a good first step,” Redmond said. “But, once the weather breaks, are they going to start massive disconnections?”</p><p>At a press conference Thursday afternoon, the coalition demanded a three-month moratorium on shutoffs and, then, more affordable reconnection and repayment terms.</p><p>ComEd responded that it cut off power only as a last resort. “No business can continue to operate if customers don’t pay for the service,” Johnson said.</p><p>During the year’s first six months, ComEd disconnected 46,493 customers for nonpayment and reconnected 28,252, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission. Those figures were up 4.1&nbsp;percent and 28.5&nbsp;percent, respectively, from the same months of 2010.</p></p> Fri, 22 Jul 2011 10:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/heat-wave-leads-comed-suspend-electricity-shutoffs-89494