SIPC approves plan to retire Unit 4 operation

The Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC) board of directors, with support from IBEW 702, approved a plan enabling SIPC to retire operation of the Unit 4 coal fired generator at the Marion Power Generating Station as early as fall of this year. The plan is the result of a process that began in fall 2019, when SIPC began looking at the long range economics of the Marion Station due primarily to sustained low energy prices in the wholesale power market as well as increasing environmental compliance costs. Regulatory approvals are required and expected by late July. A formal board decision will be made at that time.

“This is a significant and timely step to better serve our member-owners’ power requirements, considering our future risks and opportunities. Our mission and vision will continue to guide us as we work each day to best serve our members,” says President/CEO Don Gulley.

The closure of Unit 4 would affect up to 26 employees. Working closely with labor partner IBEW Local 702 and local legislators, the cooperative has developed a transition plan to help those employees that may be facing layoffs.

In addition, SIPC and IBEW worked together to develop an efficiency plan to help retain 55 union jobs in the event of Unit 4 closure. The plan aims to further improve the cost structure of SIPC’s remaining operations, including

the one coal and two natural gas units, its transmission operations, and administrative support services.

Overall, the plan is expected to reduce costs by $125 million over the next 10 years, which will directly benefit SIPC’s member-owner distribution cooperatives.

SIPC is a member-owned and governed generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Marion that provides wholesale electric power services to seven distribution cooperatives in southern Illinois.