Opponents of a so-called “clean energy” plant intended for Chicago hope an Illinois Commerce Commission ruling pushes the governor to veto the project. The Leucadia plant would be subsidized by customers of Nicor and Ameren under the rationale that natural gas prices are to go up anyway.
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Mark Biel, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, cites recent shale discoveries, including one in Canada, in saying that argument is no longer valid. “Ameren estimates that the average annual cost increase for their residential customers will be between $170 and $200 per year, and if you have a 2,500-square-foot home, those figures are going to be closer to $275 to $300 per year,” Biel says. Biel says Leucadia wants to charge $9 to $11 per thousand cubic feet for natural gas, which has been trading at $2-$3. Biel and his colleagues applaud the ICC’s ruling that suburban and Downstate natural gas customers should not be on the hook.
The governor’s office is facing pressure from both sides and says the bill remains under review.