nuclear cooling tower
Adam Winsor / flickr.com/avius (CC-BY-NC)

Illinois legislators are considering whether to approve an energy deal on behalf of power company Exelon. Without it, the corporation says it will close its nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

Commonwealth Edison's CEO says the utility is continuing to push for changes that failed to win legislative approval in the spring.

For more than seven months, Illinois lawmakers have been feeling political heat from consumers over rising electricity bills. Some even faced death threats. In their defense, lawmakers pounded their fists, raised their voices and resorted to sulking in frustration as their legislative leaders traded procedural jabs. House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones Jr. have each proposed measures that call for the state to intervene in setting electric rates.

Light Bulb
Daisy Langston Juarez

It happened the way lawmakers often resolve big issues: months of debate, a series of all-nighters and, finally, a deal to restructure the state's regulation of electric utilities. Gerald Keenan, a former top manager at the Illinois Commerce Commission, remembers it as public policy by negotiation, "and it was truly a camel when it came out."