U.S. energy giant Exelon Corporation is mulling a decision to split the company’s multistate utilities from its nuclear generation arm. The consideration comes on the heels of a financially rough year for the company which announced in August that it would be closing two of its twenty-one nuclear facilities, the respective Byron and Dresden plants in Illinois.
Declining energy prices and constrained markets have challenged the corporation’s ability to generate substantive and consistent profits at many of its nuclear plants, says Exelon CEO Chris Crane during a third-quarter conference, “No decision has been made, but we continue to do the work to determine the best outcome for our stakeholders, and we’ll provide you an update on our progress on the next earnings call,” Crane said. “What we want to make sure is that we have two healthy companies, a utility business — if we and the board determine this is the right thing to do — two healthy businesses that can stand on their own.”
Exelon had attempted to elicit help from the state in the form of government subsidies, as they successfully did for plants in New York and New Jersey earlier this year, but a recent connection to a bribery investigation involving Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Exelon utility ComEd, retarded support for such a bailout among state lawmakers. Exelon then threatened to close Bryon and Dresden outright, stripping the state of 70% of its carbon-free energy, a move which Governor J.B. Pritzker has called a “threat”.
“Some people have called it a threat. It’s not a threat” Crane continued, “Despite being among the most efficient, reliable units in the U.S. nuclear fleet, they face revenue shortfalls, declining energy prices, lack of capacity revenue and market rules that allow fossil plants to underbid clean energy resources.”
OTEK, a long-time supplier to the nuclear industry and several Exelon plants as well, continues to monitor the situation and stands ready to help the industry reach its promise with reliable, efficient, and enduring digital technology.
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