Illinois Governor Pat Quinn vetoed legislation yesterday that would have paved the way for increases in electric rates. The bill applies to the state's largest electric utilities: ComEd and Ameren. They're trying to secure a rate hike in order to pay for upgrades to their smart grid. Normally, the utilities have to go through a state regulator, but that agency said "no" to rate hikes. So the companies have been trying a different strategy.
"The utilities, every time now that they get an adverse decision from the Illinois Commerce Commission, they run off to the legislature and try and overrule it. This isn't healthy at all." - Gov. Pat Quinn
It's not the first time Quinn vetoed smart-grid legislation. The measure passed the House and Senate with more than enough votes to override Quinn's veto, and supporters are expected to try again.
A statement on behalf of ComEd:
ComEd is disappointed that Senate Bill 9 has been vetoed. This bill would get the Smart Grid back on track and allow ComEd to build a modern grid to reduce power outages, give customers more choice and control over their energy use, and create thousands of much-needed jobs. This action also threatens millions of dollars of investment in our state’s economy and the 2,400 jobs that have already been created through grid modernization. In fact, the delay of the Smart Grid harms Illinois’ overall economic competitiveness and ability to attract and grow business here. Three companies have set up new offices in Illinois to support the Smart Grid, with more to come if the program gets back on track. We urge members of the General Assembly to override the veto to get the grid modernization program back on track.
Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report