Exelon is looking for a $300 million subsidy for its nuclear plants, and it wants Illinois ratepayers to foot the bill.
Under House Bill 3293, the energy company would get $1.5 billion over five years from ratepayers that would be distributed to low-carbon energy sources.
But Julie Vahling, associate state director for AARP Illinois, says the revenue raised would go into the company's pockets.
"It doesn't produce any new jobs, it doesn't produce any more energy, it doesn't produce any cleaner energy," she points out. "It just gives them a bailout."
Opponents also argue that the legislation includes requirements that would hamper competition from solar and wind power.
The company maintains its nuclear power plants in Byron, Quad Cities and Clinton are unprofitable and suffering unsustainable losses.
But Vahling says the measure would increase costs for businesses, and places an unfair burden on low-income seniors and working families.
She says any financial difficulties Exelon is experiencing soon will be resolved. After the regional transmission organization PJM's capacity auction in May, the company will be receiving about $500 million more annually.
"Those monies would all go to the company, paid for by ratepayers," Vahling stresses. "And those finances, based on what Exelon has stated, should facilitate their financial needs. It should completely cover the issues they've raised in the past."
Vahling adds that while capacity auctions are not something ratepayers can control, state leaders do have a choice when it comes to the rate increases consumers would see if HB 3293 passes.