CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn says he’ll fight to sustain his veto of the “Smart Grid” bill pushed by ComEd, saying the veto is all that stands between the public and exorbitant utility rates.
As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Quinn says the public knows what the bill is about.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
“They want to raise all of our utility rates every year, for each of the next 10 years – for the next decade,” Quinn said. “This is a bad deal for families, for businesses, for governments that take taxpayers’ money that want to turn on the lights and run the CTA, for an example. Why are we paying these high rates?”
Quinn said higher electric rates would also affect the state budget adversely.
“I think a lot of our elected officials who are concerned about their own government – if you want to cut the budget; hold the line on the budget, you should say no to ComEd,” he said.
But officials from ComEd say the public is suffering without a smart grid.
They say some of the major power outages this past summer would not have lasted as long if their desired smart-grid upgrade of their distribution system had taken place, and they are working to line up votes to have Quinn’s veto overturned.
ComEd and Ameren say the bill would upgrade the power grid, put people to work, and overhaul the regulatory system.
Supporters of the legislation have said the $3 billion, 10-year plan is needed to fund a “Smart Grid” that would monitor energy use and reduce waste. The legislation would have provided ComEd and its downstate counterpart, Ameren, with money for basic infrastructure for the “Smart Grid.”
ComEd has argued that converting to a “Smart Grid” would eventually save customers approximately $3 billion over a 20-year period by providing daily usage information that would help them monitor costs.
Utility companies say Illinois must upgrade its electrical grid if it is to remain competitive in attracting business. ComEd says the bill forces the company to fine itself if the upgrades outlined aren’t reached by a certain time.