Governor Signs Legislation to Protect Jobs, Ratepayers and Taxpayers

Future Energy Jobs bill also supports renewable energy, energy efficiency, and invests in low-income communities

CLINTON – Governor Bruce Rauner today signed Senate Bill 2814, the Future Energy Jobs bill, at a ceremony at Clinton High School in Clinton. The bipartisan legislation ensures the Quad Cities and Clinton power facilities remain open for another 10 years, saving thousands of good-paying jobs, while protecting working families, seniors, and thousands of other high-quality, good-paying jobs throughout the state by capping residential and business energy rates.

“When this legislation was originally drafted, it was a Christmas tree loaded with special interest goodies that would have skyrocketed energy costs on families and businesses across the state,” said Governor Rauner. “So we needed to find a balance, because I was unwilling to gamble with these communities, gamble with thousands of good paying jobs and gamble with our energy diversity. While this legislation isn’t perfect, it allows us to protect jobs, ratepayers and taxpayers.”

Before Governor Rauner’s involvement, the legislature was poised to pass a massive bill with demand rates that could have skyrocketed energy bills for consumers. Governor Rauner laid out a pathway for a deal with his statement of principles which outlined any energy agreement should preserve jobs while protecting ratepayers and taxpayers.

“Thank you to those who negotiated in good faith to help make this bill a reality, and most importantly, thank you to the people of the Quad Cities and Clinton for your persistence, your patience, and hard work,” Governor Rauner added.

Senate Bill 2814 ensures the Clinton and Quad Cities power facilities remain open for another 10 years. It contains a guaranteed cap that energy prices cannot increase more than 25 cents on the average residential home, and cannot increase more than 1.3 percent on commercial and industrial users over the next ten years. Rates are projected to decrease for the first several years due to the utilities being able to amortize energy efficiency. It also promotes unprecedented wind and solar expansion and preserves zero-emission generation, maintaining Illinois’ status in leading the nation in zero-carbon generation.

“A joint study conducted by the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Power Agency, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity found that allowing several nuclear plants to prematurely close would cause our electric rates to increase by as much as 26% during stress events while grid reliability and capacity would significantly decrease. Closing the plants would also cost Illinois approximately 7,800 jobs and $1.8 billion in economic activity,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Burr Ridge). “At the end of the day, had we failed to take action Illinois and Illinois consumers would suffer, and our electric rates would get dramatically out of hand.”

"Gov. Rauner continues to be an advocate for downstate Illinois, and without his help, this bill would still be languishing in committee and thousands of good paying jobs would now be lost," said State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), who represents Clinton. "Moreover, this new law protects energy consumers from massive rate hikes, ensures reliable, clean, and cheap power for years to come, prevents the construction of more power lines, and, as mentioned, protects a vital sector of Illinois' economy. I was honored to host then candidate-Rauner for a tour of the Clinton plant back in 2014 - and now, to have a Governor who spends so much time in downstate Illinois and cares about what is important to us is incredibly refreshing."

“This is a great day for Central Illinois and the state as a whole. We have fought for several years now to save the Clinton Power Station, the economic engine of DeWitt County,” said State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth). “This legislation will preserve our nuclear plants and protect thousands of good-paying jobs for working families. I want to thank our local leaders for their tremendous efforts and I especially want to thank Governor Rauner and Leader Durkin for their support and leadership. This was not an easy bill to pass and they moved mountains to help get it done.”