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DECATUR, Ill. (WBBM) – Supporters of the recently vetoed “Smart Grid” bill are trying to garner enough support to override the governor, and the efforts may be working.
The governor says it’s not the time to raise electric rates on ComEd and Ameren customers, which the bill would have allowed to pay for infrastructure upgrades. State Rep. Adam Brown (R-Decatur), says he voted against the original bill but knows grid upgrades will eventually be needed.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports
“The last thing we want is brownouts, not only in my district but across the state of Illinois,” he says. “We’ve got to have reliable power for folks, and it might come at a slight cost increase as well.”
Brown says sponsors are adding to the bill to make it more appealing to those who voted no, and he likes some of the additions. For example, one provision of a trailer bill would help make electricity more affordable to the elderly and lower income customers. That idea was part of the original bill – but was axed during negotiations shortly before it passed.
“It’s a very difficult bill for me. It’s a Catch-22 because the last thing I want to do is increase costs on folks, but the flip side of this is you’re going to have help for the elderly as well as those who can’t afford it,” says Brown.
His district is trying to attract employers amidst a damaged manufacturing economy. Proponents of the bill say it’s necessary to compete with states that have already upgraded their grids.