General Assembly Overrides Smart Grid Veto

May 23, 2013

Credit WNIJ

The Illinois House voted to again approve the bill Wednesday. The Senate approved it for a second time Tuesday.

ComEd pleaded its case to lawmakers when it was unsatisfied with how a state regulator was handling its request to raise rates. The utility says the higher rates are needed to pay for upgrades to the state's electric grid. AARP spokesman Scott Musser says the legislation would let ComEd collect past rate increases it believes it deserved -- with interest. But Musser says the utility is behind on making promised upgrades:

"So basically we've let them off the hook for their promises, and then also gave them a nice big bonus on top of that." -Scott Musser, AARP

Democratic Representative Lou Lang, D- Skokie:

 "I know when the governor vetoed this bill, he did it very emphatically. And he said the General Assembly should not get in the way of the Commerce Commission. But I have a different story to tell: the story is that the Commerce Commission does not make public policy in this state, the Illinois General Assembly makes public policy, and they ought to follow the policy we set." -Rep. Lou Lang

Quinn vetoed it May 6, saying the proposal weakened oversight and forced automatic rate hikes.

The legislation becomes law immediately with this week's legislative action.

Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report.