BYRON (WREX) — Hundreds of people woke up Thursday and Friday morning and went to work at the Byron Nuclear Plant. That's thanks to the massive clean energy law signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday.
The theme at Exelon is relief and pride, that's according to IBEW Local 15 President and Business Manager Terry McGoldrick. Legislators from both sides of the aisle worked tirelessly to listen to the concerns of residents and local municipalities for months.
IBEW Local 15 wanted the bill to save its 700 jobs, so people can go home and know where their next paycheck is coming from.
Rep. Tom Demmer, (R) 68th District, says it's more than that. He says it's also keeping valuable property taxes and not having to rely on another state for energy at a higher cost.
"We would be buying carbon based power from a different state. We would be paying more, so rate payers would be on the hook for a higher price, and we wouldn't have any jobs to show for it and we would have the huge economic losses in our communities. So there wasn't a way to take out this one piece. They're all interconnected," said Rep. Demmer.
Demmer may have been the only Republican at the celebration ceremony but he says he is proud to see his own district thrive. He thanks communities and legislators working together across the entire state.
McGoldrick says this nuclear baseload of energy is needed day in and day out. He says he thinks higher ups should be doing what they can to protects it after the five years the law calls for.
“This actually needs to be dealt by the federal, right. This this an issue happening around the country, this is not unique to us, sadly. but I think a lot of people were looking to us to see what we were going to do in Illinois so that’s how crucial quite honestly this is. So if we could get this taken care of on a federal level we would not have to worry about it as a state," said McGoldrick.
McGoldrick went on to say, through all the uncertainty, employees have been working overtime with additional shifts due to being short staffed and still operated with 99.8% efficiency which is an all time high.