Governor Vetoes ComEd Rate-Hike Plan

September 13, 2011

At least someone is looking out for Chicago real estate owners and renters.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has vetoed a bill that would have given Commonwealth Edison the power to implement annual rate hikes on its customers in order to modernize its grid.

But that doesn’t mean your bills aren’t going up.

COMED truck“More than 1.5 million people and businesses have had to deal with power outages and services disruptions this summer,” Governor Quinn said. “Now these same utilities are trying to change the rules to guarantee themselves annual rate increases and eliminate accountability.”

ComEd reports that the new smart grid, a project estimated to cost $2.6 billion, would add technology that would decrease power outages like the ones we saw this summer.

“I will not support a bill that contains sweetheart deals for big utilities, which could leave struggling consumers to pick up the tab for costs such as lobbying fees and executive bonuses,” said Quinn. “We can ensure innovation and investment in our electric grid, and create new jobs, without compromising core safeguards for Illinois consumers.”

Quinn had said he would veto the legislation, which was passed by the Illinois Commerce Commission in May.

But Illinois lawmakers can override the governor’s veto in November, and ComEd is certainly going to plead its case.

“In the coming weeks, we will work to show how this legislation provides a diverse array of important benefits to Illinois,” utility officials said. “It is a jobs bill, an economic development bill, an environmental bill, a consumer benefits bill, a regulatory reform bill and an infrastructure bill.”

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called it “legalized pickpocketing.”

“This bill would have been devastating for Illinois consumers,” she said.

“At a time when people are already struggling to pay their bills, the utilities want to make an end run around the regulatory process and stick consumers with huge annual rate increases for unproven technology — all so they can guarantee their profits for the next decade. That’s not a proposal I can support.”

Stay tuned.

Categories: Economy

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