HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – They are talking about nuclear power over rural Pennsylvania.
This spring, the issue of rescuing the Pennsylvania nuclear power plant could dominate the debate in the state Capitol, and it is of great interest for hundreds of thousands of rural electric cooperative members who rely on nuclear power.
Partners in the nation's nuclear nuclear power no. 2 may have the greatest effort in which critics call a rescue, and they set up their efforts to get the message to employees, partners, and eventually lawmakers.
"Every opportunity we have, I encourage our owners to address this. Every opportunity I have, if I meet at a meeting," said Frank Betley, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association. of 1
For two years, Chicago-based Exelon Corp. and other nuclear power plant owners have been working to build support for a rescue in Pennsylvania, and warn that the fleet is being driven to ruthlessness, first and foremost by a flood of inexpensive natural gas plant entering competitive electricity markets.
Nuclear power says they should get the same beneficial treatment in Pennsylvania as wind farms, solar installations and other "carbon-free" energy sources at the age of global warming.
To achieve this, cooperatives and other core business owners support legislation that is expected to cost Pennsylvania rates of around $ 500 million a year. That's about 3 percent of the over $ 14 billion that Pennsylvania's electrical customers paid for electricity in 2018, including distribution fees and fees, according to federal data.
The 14 rural electric cooperatives, 13 in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey, own 10 percent of the Susquehanna nuclear power plant in northeastern Pennsylvania.
In turn, Susquehanna supplies about 60 percent of the electricity used by the over 230,000 households, businesses, and industrial consumers of the cooperatives, and they say, has helped them keep their prices well below what for-profit tools pay interest payers.
Efforts for the cooperatives are this: If Susquehanna settles prematurely, members of the cooperatives can expect a huge increase in their electric bills.  But if lawmakers pass the nuclear-friendly legislation, the cooperatives – like other core business owners – will bring more money. Meanwhile, the bill would protect members of the cooperatives from the rate increases that most of Pennsylvania's other electrical customers will pay.
Betley would not give an estimate for the cost increase if Susquehanna were to shut down. But rep. Thomas Mehaffie, R-Dauphin, who introduced the house bill, said it could be a 25 to 30 percent increase in membership bills, or higher if natural gas prices rise.
"They are very concerned, says Mehaffie.
Lawmaker's immediate deadline is June 1.
That's Exelon's , owner of Three Mile Island, has said it will begin four months of closing down the plant, which was the site of a frightening partial meltdown in 1979, unless Pennsylvania comes to its economic rescue.
Three Mile Island Aside, Bill is the objection whether Susquehanna and Pennsylvania require three other nuclear power plants to stay afloat.
Susquehanna is in any case profitable right now, although nuclear power plant owners warn it said With the market dynamics that make Three Mile Island unprofitable, it will eventually sink Pennsylvania's entire nuclear fleet.
They warn of a future without nuclear power plants. Carbon emissions will rise, natural gas will become the dominant source of energy, and Pennsylvania will have no hedge against a price spike, they say.
Passing a complicated, heavily lobbyed and politically tough bill will not be easy.
Securing The background of Gov. Tom Wolf and his co-legislators in the legislature will probably require adding clean energy concessions and limiting nuclear subsidies. At the same time, fluctuating voices from rural legislators behind them may be the difference between success and failure of the Republican-controlled legislature.
Some rural lawmakers may have divided loyalty if Pennsylvania's significant natural gas industry maintains its opposition to some nuclear-friendly legislation.
And the cooperatives are not prominent campaign donors.
But nearly 70 house and senate members have a cooperative area in their district, the cooperatives say. Some of the cooperative's employees and directors are well-known to lawmakers, and the cooperatives are involved in social causes and donate to local organizations.
"That means a lot," said rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams, said of his local partner, Adams Electric. "I want to go on a limb to protect that company. They are important to society. "
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the partial degradation of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. PennLive cooperates with PA Post and WITF on a multimedia, month-long look at the accident , its influence and the future of TMI and the nuclear industry, including new documentary and radio programs, long-form audio stories, images and digital videos, featuring voices of affected and social events to engage with listeners, readers and viewers .