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Ill. Electric Rate Fight Not Over

Nick Gale, Illinois Bureau
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Power-electricity
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN/KMOX) - Supporters of the legislation that would increase electricity rates to create a “smart grid” believe there is still a chance for the legislation to become law.

Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed the legislation Monday, calling it a “nightmare” for consumers. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan agrees.  “In the midst of a recession when people are already struggling to make ends meet, this bill would have resulted in enormous annual rate increases of approximately 9 percent a year,” Madigan said.

But supporters say the legislation is needed to finance the Smart Grid that can monitor energy use and reduce waste. The $3 billion, 10-year plan also would give ComEd and Ameren money for basic infrastructure.

Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris says the utility company remains hopeful that lawmakers in Springfield will take up the legislation this fall and override the governor’s veto.  

“We’re certainly optimistic that the legislature will choose to override this veto so enactment [occurs] of a bill that’s incredibly important to our state, to our customers,” Morris said.

While Quinn and others agree there is a need for a Smart Grid, they say it can likely be financed by the utilities without raising rates.

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