The recent news story of Peabody Coal selling 95 percent of their new Prairie State power plant to municipalities and electric co-ops sounded familiar to me.
In the 1980’s, Illinois Power sold 10 percent of their nuclear plant to the Southwest Electric Co-op which resulted in a dramatic increase if the co-ops electric rates.
So I called the Chicago office of the Illinois Citizens’ Utility Board for information on the Prairie State deal.
They sent me a 30-page report by the Institute for Energy, Economic and Financial Analysis from Maryland.
According to the report, Peabody lured 217 towns and cities and eight electric co-ops into buying into the new generating plant and persuaded them to sign long term contracts by promising below market electric rates.
They assured them of a 30-year supply of coal from their subsidiary Lively Grove Mine, a mine that is having safety problems cited by he US Department of mine Safety.
According to the Maryland report Galion, Ohio will pay $8 million more than the promised rates by 2025.
Between 2001 and 2007 Peabody saw most other coal-fired power plants on the drawing boards cancelled, so they decided to dump Prairie State on the municipalities and co-ops.
They sold the Lively Grove Mine with its problems to Prairie State, taking only a $17 million profit plus consulting fees. It seems that Wall Street does not have a monopoly on corporate crooks after all.
Fairview Heights resident