Tenaska Power Plant
In the next few weeks the Illinois General Assembly will be debating (and very likely deciding) a topic that is of paramount importance to all Illinois businesses. At issue is whether to green-light the construction of a power plant in Taylorville, Illinois, proposed by Omaha-based Tenaska, Inc.
Normally, a decision by a private investor to build a power plant doesn't require legislative approval. But in this case, Tenaska has said it won't build the plant unless a state law is enacted that requires Illinois consumers to buy the plant's power-at above market prices-for the next 30 years. The ICC calculated that this would mean an annual average of $286 million in over-market subsidies from electricity customers. Over 30 years, this totals $8.6 billion in higher electricity rates.
But why is this specifically important to businesses? It's because the proposal calls for a two percent annual cap on rate increases for residential consumers. That cap means that commercial consumers of electricity will bear most of the burden for paying these above-market prices. How does Tenaska justify this apparent inequity of burden? They essentially argue that commercial customers don't pay enough in electricity costs right now.
Higher electric rates will not only increase your cost of doing business, but will have a cascading effect on the economy. While Tenaska's own estimate is that the plant will create about 2,500 temporary construction jobs and "hundreds" of permanent jobs (almost all of them in Taylorville), an independent analysis applying common sense economic metrics shows that $286 million per year electric cost subsidy will kill anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 jobs*. State lawmakers need to ask themselves if this is a jobs program that actually costs jobs.
We encourage private investment in our state. But we object to a mandate to buy a company's product, for 30 years, at above-market costs, and with all the risk shifted on business consumers instead of to the plant's investors.
The time is now to make your voice heard on the Tenaska/Taylorville Energy Center project.
Please visit www.stopcoalition.com. In just a couple of minutes you can send a message to your legislators telling them that you are against these mandated, above-market electricity costs. There is a template letter for your use, but we encourage you to include information regarding the company you represent and how many people your company employs.
The ICC report is available at http://www.icc.illinois.gov/electricity/tenaska.aspx (Click on "TEC Report.") If you have specific questions on this issue, please contact Dean Nicol, Integrys Energy's Director of Regional Sales - Illinois, at 312-681-1814 or email@example.com.
Thank you for your business and for your attention to this important issue!
Integrys Energy Services
*These job loss estimates represent the difference between what Illinois jobs would be without the TEC plant and what they would be with the Illinois plant, on average, over a 30-year period. The job losses will occur because businesses will take electricity costs into account when contemplating whether to locate operations in Illinois or someplace else, or whether to schedule production or service at Illinois locations or at their locations elsewhere." Taylorville Energy Center Project: Economic Impacts on Illinois Retail Electricity Rates and Economy, Matthew J. Morey, et al. Christensen Associates Energy Consulting, LLC. April 16, 2010. p.35-37.