SPRINGFIELD – May 29, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan today released a joint statement on Senate Bill 1652.
“In the closing days of the legislative session, Commonwealth Edison and Ameren continue to press the General Assembly to enact legislation which guarantees increased annual profits for shareholders at the expense of higher rates for Illinois consumers and businesses.
“We understand that electric utility companies must make investments to ensure consumers across Illinois have reliable and safe energy. In fact, Illinois law already requires this investment. But utility companies must not be given a blank check to spend billions of dollars at the expense of the hard-working men and women of our state. They should justify their multi-billion dollar investment plans before consumers are on the hook to pay for them.
“While Commonwealth Edison and Ameren talk about investment in Smart Grid, Senate Bill 1652 is clearly not just about investing in this technology. This legislation locks in guaranteed, significant annual profits for the utility companies without real oversight by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Senate Bill 1652 would tie the hands of the ICC.
“This legislation comes with a very high cost to consumers. The ICC granted ComEd a $156 million rate increase this past week. Now, if Senate Bill 1652 passes, ComEd rates would increase by approximately $180 million – or 9 percent -- every year for 10 years. Ameren consumers would pay rate increases that are estimated to go even higher, requiring consumers to pay $34 per month more at the end of the 10 years.
“With energy prices continuing to drop, legislating annual rate hikes will hurt our economic recovery and take money away from Illinois consumers and small businesses who can least afford it. We believe there are ways to encourage greater investment to upgrade the electric grid and create more jobs while protecting consumers.
“We urge members of the General Assembly to reject Senate Bill 1652 and send a strong message to Commonwealth Edison and Ameren that we care more about protecting the pocketbooks of Illinois families, than the profits of electric utility companies.”