Bill to Level the Playing Field for Coffeen Power Plant Heard in Committee

During Veto Session, a bill co-sponsored by State Representative Avery Bourne, House Bill 4141, was presented before a Joint House and Senate Energy Committee for consideration. The legislation aims to reduce the competitive disadvantage faced by downstate energy producers. This bill is a result of numerous meetings with Dynegy Inc., the largest downstate energy producer, and its aim is to stabilize the region’s energy market and to prevent power plant closures.

Dynegy operates the Coffeen Power Plant along with seven other power plants in central and southern Illinois. The company has stated that under downstate Illinois’ current electricity-distribution system, it may have to close at least four power plants by 2021 or sooner. The economic impact of these closures would mean the loss of almost 550 jobs and threaten approximately 4,000 indirect jobs.

Representative Bourne said, “We are in the beginning stages of the bill and we will continue to work through the committee process. I am glad that both the legislature and the administration are engaged in discussions on this important issue.” She added, “Illinois needs to ensure that there is fairness in the energy marketplace so that we have stability and can prevent future closures. Beyond the implications at the state level, this issue is critical for Montgomery County – for our schools, our communities and our county, and I will continue fighting to keep our jobs here.”

House Bill 4141 is an effort to bring downstate electricity reliability by allowing Dynegy to pull out of the 15-state Mid-Continent Independent System Operator distribution system (MISO). Additionally, Dynegy will take over procuring capacity for all customers in their zone (current zone 4 of MISO) and restructure pricing. An identical bill has been filed in the Senate. Both measures await a committee vote.