Texas-based Dynegy Inc. has launched a two-pronged assault on our environment, public health, and ratepayers. In the past few weeks, Dynegy requested that the Illinois Pollution Control Board to rewrite the state’s Multi-Pollutant Standard (MPS), was sold to a fellow Texas-based energy giant, Vistra Energy, for $1.7 billion, and filed legislation that would grant them a taxpayer-funded bailout.
Dynegy’s bailout legislation (SB 2250 and HB 4141) was the subject of a hearing in front of a joint committee of Senate and House members on Tuesday, November 7th. An overwhelming majority of the testimony called into question Dynegy’s proposal.
Dynegy’s claims that their coal plants are uneconomic and on the brink of closure, costing hundreds of jobs and an energy reliability issue for the region, were largely shut down by other panelists.
The organization in charge of procuring and coordinating the transmission of electricity in the Midwest, commonly referred to as MISO, as well as Ameren, and the Attorney General’s office all testified that there was not an immediate threat to reliability in the region, and therefore Dynegy’s proposal is unwarranted.
Consumer advocates, including the Citizens Utility Board and AARP, answered committee member’s questions regarding the burden on ratepayers if this legislation were to be passed. Both organizations estimated that the proposal would cost consumers upwards of $115 a year in additional energy costs.
Several IEC member affiliates also testified against Dynegy’s proposed legislation, including the Environmental Defense Fund, ELPC, Sierra Club, and Illinois People’s Action. They each did an excellent job highlighted the incredible growth of new clean energy generation as a result of the Future Energy Jobs Act, and spoke to the environmental destruction and health threats that coal continues to impose on communities throughout Illinois.
Ultimately, the bill was not called for a vote during the veto session, though it is likely to be reintroduced next session.