Illinois governor to sign bill to spare 2 nuclear plants

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is set Wednesday to sign legislation that provides billions of dollars in subsidies to Exelon Corp. so the power giant can keep unprofitable nuclear plants running in the state.

The measure provides $235 million per year to Exelon and calls for more than 4 million customers of power-distributing subsidiaries ComEd and Ameren to pay more to finance the plan. Lawmakers approved it last week during the Illinois Legislature's veto session.

Exelon said in a Wednesday morning news release that the measure, known as the Future Energy Jobs Bill, "safeguards the state's top source of clean energy, protects and creates thousands of jobs and strengthens the Illinois economy, while preserving competitive rates."

Rauner, a Republican, said in the release that the legislation "ensures we don't gamble with thousands of good paying jobs and gamble with our energy diversity." He is scheduled to sign the legislation at the plant in Port Byron Wednesday morning and do the same later in the day in at the Clinton plant.

Rauner previously criticized "special deals" for corporations but last week said closing the plants would have "devastated the two communities."