9/24/14 - CRAIN'S: Exelon puts an opening price tag on nuclear rescue: $580 million

BY STEVE DANIELS

Exelon Corp. is urging state utility regulators to press for changes in power markets that would boost revenue at the company's Illinois nuclear power fleet by about $580 million.

At a Sept. 23 hearing before the Illinois Commerce Commission, Exelon Senior Vice President Kathleen Barron put a price tag on what the Chicago-based nuclear giant believes is necessary to keep at least most plants in Illinois open, the first public indication from the company of what it's asking for in dollars and cents.

Citing estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on how much more nuclear plants should be paid for their output in light of their carbon-free emissions, Ms. Barron told commissioners an increase of about $6 per megawatt-hour would improve the company's financial picture in Illinois.

There remain questions about ways the state could help Exelon generate more revenue in Illinois, where some of its plants are losing money. But no one disagrees on who would supply the money: ratepayers. A $6-per-megawatt-hour increase in power prices would raise the energy price currently charged by Commonwealth Edison Co. by eight percent. Downstate, where power prices are significantly lower than in the Chicago area, the percentage increase would be significantly more.

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