CHICAGO – As the General Assembly prepares to convene for the final week of the fall veto session, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today said that he would not support pending legislation that would allow Exelon, parent company of ComEd, to purchase Central Illinois-based Illinois Power unless the possibility of an early rate review for consumers was removed from the bill.
“Dynegy has made it clear that it wants to sell Illinois Power, and that if they cannot sell Illinois Power, they will lay people off and make minimal investments in the energy infrastructure of Central Illinois. It is clear that Dynegy is going to reduce its investment in Illinois Power, in one way or another. It is also clear that the economy of Central Illinois, and the stability of the energy infrastructure in Central Illinois, and all of Illinois, would benefit if Illinois Power is purchased by a company that is located in Illinois, produces power in Illinois, sells power in Illinois, and has a proven track record here in Illinois,” said Blagojevich.
“Commonwealth Edison is asking the Legislature for several things before they purchase Illinois Power. First on their agenda has been a request for an immediate rate review, not just for the current 700,000 Illinois Power customers, but for the nearly 3.5 million Commonwealth Edison customers as well. I will not sign legislation that would expedite a process that could ultimately lead to a rate increase for consumers. Not for Commonwealth Edison customers. Not for Illinois Power customers. Commonwealth Edison, just like any other utility, ought to go through the Illinois Commerce Commission’s ordinary course of rate review, as established by statute,” Blagojevich continued.
Before he would give his support for the sale of Illinois Power to Exelon, Blagojevich said the following conditions must be met:
- No special rate increases for consumers in either the ComEd or Illinois Power networks, and no changes to the way the Illinois Commerce Commission reviews and sets rates. Both companies would need to adhere to the rate review schedule contained in current law, which will take place beginning in 2005 and ending in 2006.
- ComEd must commit to improving the energy infrastructure of Central Illinois. Illinois Power is currently ranked in the third quartile by the Edison Electric Institute, an organization that grades the reliability of the infrastructure of power companies across the nation. Companies ranked in the first quartile have strong infrastructures, while those in the fourth are very vulnerable to blackouts. Com Ed must commit to making the necessary investment to move Illinois Power into the second quartile in the next few years, and into the first quartile not long after that.
- ComEd must agree to keep Illinois Power lay-offs to a minimum. Com Ed has signed a memorandum of understanding with the unions representing Illinois Power workers promising not to lay off more than fifty people over a period of several years. Blagojevich wants the number of cuts to be reduced further.
- And finally, ComEd must enhance its investments in renewable energy – including biogas, wind and solar generation – over the next several years.
“Protect consumers. Improve our infrastructure and reduce the likelihood of blackouts. Preserve jobs. And help the environment. If Commonwealth Edison wants my support, that’s what it will take,” Blagojevich said.