Springfield, Ill. (IRN) – A joint session of the Illinois House and Senate heard testimony Tuesday from ComEd and Ameren concerning a bill that would change government oversight for the power companies. The companies claim regulation concessions are needed to allow for investment in new “smart grid” technology and modernization.
But some groups say the $36 per year increase for ComEd customers and $5 per year increase for Ameren customers to fund the project will not be the only rate increases for consumers.
“What we’re trying to do here is align the business interests of the utility with the ultimate interest of consumers,” said Jim Monk of the Illinois Energy Association. “We don’t think this bill does that. We think it will lead to higher rates over time. I will also note that any way you look at this bill, it certainly involves less risk for the utilities.”
The Illinois Attorney General’s office had similar concerns, characterizing the measure as “a blank check to spend consumers’ money without adequate oversight and allows rates to automatically increase every year.”
State Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) says the regulation concerns are about predictability.
The power companies want to invest billions in infrastructure redevelopment and modernization. ComEd would put up $2.6 billion over a 10-year period and hire 2,000 new employees. Ameren would invest $950 million over 10 years and hire 750 people.
The bill is H.B. 14.