CHICAGO- Today Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, Chairman of the “Special Task Force on the Condition and Future of the Illinois Energy Infrastructure,” convened the final public hearing to give utilities an opportunity to address issues and comment on recent energy developments over the past five months.
“We want to wrap up the information gathering process by having the utilities respond to what we have learned and provide us with their perspective on the assorted reports and findings,” said Quinn.
The September 3, 2003 Task Force hearing with Commonwealth Edison, Illinois Power, Ameren, Midwest Generation and MidAmerican Energy occurred just a few weeks after the power outage that wreaked havoc across the Northeast and Canada last summer, causing up to $6 billion in damages. Since then, new developments include the release of the joint Department of Energy and Canadian preliminary report on the blackout, as well as recently released studies from Michigan and New York City.
“This final hearing provides a forum for Illinois utilities to address these new issues and developments,” Quinn said. “It also gives the Task Force members another opportunity to question the utilities regarding our state’s energy future.”
Slated to speak were Frank Clark, President of Commonwealth Edison; Mark Birk, Vice President of Ameren Services Energy Supply Operations; Brent Gale, Vice President for Legislation and Regulation of MidAmerican Energy; Larry Altenbaumer, President of Illinois Power; and Fred McCluskey, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Midwest Generation.
This was the sixth and final public hearing of the Task Force. The Task Force took testimony from energy producers and regional transmission organizations in September; business leaders and building owners in October; consumer advocates in December; and experts in public safety and emergency communications in January. The Task Force is expected to make comprehensive recommendations for reform at the end of February 2004.
The Special Task Force – comprised of 11 state agency directors – was formed by Governor Rod Blagojevich to study ways to avoid the kind of power outages that affected the August 14th blackout across the Northeast and Canada.
Quinn has encouraged consumer input into the Task Force’s investigation by organizing a diverse citizens working group to focus on specific policy alternatives; setting up an “electronic suggestion box” and useful Web site (www.BlackoutSolutions.org
) to enable people to offer ideas on how to avoid power outages; assembling town hall meetings across the state; and convening Illinois’ first “Cyber Town Hall Meeting” on energy policy at the Illinois Math and Science Academy.