Dozens of nuclear electricity plants are now asking for financial support to keep their reactors up and running, following the effects of the recent electricity deregulation movement across the U.S. While deregulation has brought savings to millions of customers around the country, it is now also bringing the threat of extinction to several nuclear plants in deregulated states.
Earlier this month, several plant located in Illinois, New York and Ohio released statements asking for hundreds of millions of dollars from consumers to keep their costly plants up and running.
Approximately half of the nuclear power plants in the United States operate in deregulated regions of the country, where consumers are able to choose their electricity provider instead of using their utility-appointed supplier. While these bills have helped millions save on their monthly energy costs, these new proposals from nuclear plants will likely come at the consumers? expense.
In states like Illinois, roughly half of the generated electricity comes from nuclear plants. However, the costs of maintaining these plants, which typically require more staff and maintenance to meet the strict safety standards that govern these plants, is higher than those at other energy suppliers.
Several nuclear plants have claimed to be losing tens of millions dollars per year, as the current environment of the deregulated market cannot provide them with enough income to cover their costs. For the nuclear plants their plea is simple: they want customers to subsidize the cost of these plants, as they can help boost their area economy, stabilize electrical grids and they create energy without emitting pollutants.
However, for the customers in these regions, most don?t feel it is their responsibility to fund these plants. Deregulation has already caused countless energy suppliers, unable to meet the demands of a deregulated market, to fall out of business. Plus, if these nuclear reactors are granted this bailout, it could increase customer bills by as much as 4% over the next three years.
While hearings regarding this bill have began in Ohio and are scheduled in Illinois and New York, there is no clear-cut answer on what will come from this proposal. While the nuclear plants are fighting and begging for millions in support, many representatives in these states believe that this request is in direct violation of the deregulation laws, and that their residents? power to choose a preferred energy provider may just have to mean the end of the dozens of nuclear power plants that are unable to stay competitive in this high-stakes market.