Remember the Cuomo administration’s nuclear bailout that has New York electric utility customers paying an extra $1.3 million a day to Exelon Corporation?
It's about to go up.
Monday is the 2nd anniversary of the day we began making those payments. And on April 1, 2019, the April Fool's joke is again on us: our payments to Exelon will NOT decrease, as the Cuomo administration claimed. Instead, the cost of the nuclear bailout will increase by $58 million a year for the 2019-2020 period. As of Monday, New York electric utility customers will pay an extra $1.5 million dollars a day to Exelon.
That's what Alliance for a Green Economy and Nuclear Information and Resource Service predicted for 2019. We based our forecast in 2016 on there being no major rise in market prices, and our forecast shows a total subsidy cost of $7.6 billion over 12 years.
The Public Service Commission based their March 2017 estimate on a scenario of dramatically rising wholesale market prices which would drive down the cost of the nuclear subsidies every two years. The PSC predicted a total subsidy cost of $2.9 billion over 12 years.
When the Department of Public Service Staff on March 7, 2019 reported that there had NOT been a significant rise in wholesale market rates and there would NOT be a downward adjustment to the scheduled subsidy increase, the AGREE/NIRS model was shown to be on track in predicting the rising bailout payment, and the Cuomo administration’s document was shown to be off by $145 million per year. This first price adjustment for April 1, 2019 is the initial test of whose forecast is accurate, and ours is the accurate one so far.
What can we do?
We can hold the Cuomo administration accountable for honoring the August 1, 2016 commitment made by then Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman right before the Public Service Commission voted to approve the bailout. She said the PSC and NYSERDA would work to create a 100% New York produced renewable energy option that people could choose to buy instead of paying for the nuclear bailout. We need that option now!
Here is a link to our petition calling on Governor Cuomo to: 1) follow through on the promise of the option to opt out of paying for nuclear subsidies if we buy 100% renewable energy, and 2) have the PSC & NYSERDA design the policy so that, when customers choose the 100% New York Green Energy option, their obligations pay for the nuclear bailout are not shifted to other customers, but instead are retired, thereby reducing the total amount of subsidies Exelon receives. Please sign the petition and share it throughout your networks and groups!
The next price adjustment for nuclear subsidies comes in 2021, when the bailout cost is scheduled to rise by another $49 million per year. At that point, the cost of nuclear subsidies will likely be well above New York's cost for procuring renewable energy and energy efficiency. Therefore, New York should begin a process right now to reconsider the 12-year nuclear bailout. Subsidy payments to Exelon Corporation could instead be used to pay for energy efficiency improvements and building renewable energy.
We need your voices! Sign and share the petition, and stay tuned for more opportunities to advance renewable energy in New York.
All the best,
Communications & Outreach Director
Alliance for a Green Economy