Here is another article in our series about things going on around Rochester.
The residents of Rochester could see an extreme rise in gas and oil prices this winter, on top of the high prices already evident at gas pumps, due to three years of losses seen by Exelon Corp.
According to Bloomberg News, the country’s largest nuclear reactor owner will have to hike up its prices if it intends to keep its Rochester-based Ginna plant open and functioning.
The three years of losses, which amount to about $100 million between 2011 and 2013, have caused state regulators to issue a deadline on the Ginna plant’s power contract; according to cost estimates produced by Exelon, the company would have to increase prices by about 83% in order to keep Ginna functioning and making a profit.
This unwelcome news comes shortly after Exelon closed one plant in Vermont, and just a year after four different nuclear reactor plants across the country were shut down for not being profitable enough.
Although the loss of the plant would likely have a devastating effect on Rochester’s local economy, the amount by which Exelon would increase its prices would certainly trickle down into the energy bills for Rochestarians.
If the Ginna plant is to remain open, an energy research group predicts that Rochester Gas customers will have to pay about $18 more per month on their energy bills.
Considering the sudden winter weather that has just descended upon the city — i.e., temperatures reaching single digits, and wind chill estimates as low as -20 degrees — many homeowners in Rochester already have heating bills that total more than 50% of their homes’ entire energy costs.
For homeowners who already struggle to make ends meet during these bursts of arctic-like weather, that extra $18 could be extremely difficult to pay during the colder months of the year.
Rochester Gas is reportedly looking at about six other energy alternatives, including solar and wind energy options, to minimize or completely avoid the huge price increase. Hopefully, one of those alternatives will pan out before Exelon makes any big decisions regarding Rochester’s Ginna plant.