Legislation that is needed to improve and modernize Illinois’ electric utility system was vetoed September 12 by Governor Pat Quinn.

The Governor sided with opponents of the proposed “smart-grid” electric utility upgrade legislation, contending the plan allowed for excessive and burdensome cost increases for consumers, while giving Commonwealth Edison and Ameren too much autonomy when it comes to state oversight of utility regulation and rate increases.

I supported this legislation and am disappointed that the Governor vetoed it.

Most lawmakers understand the importance of modernizing the state’s electrical grid, which includes replacing cables, installing new circuitry and utility poles, and burying electric lines. Opponents of the measure said the bill was overly generous to the utilities and that the legislation would have relaxed state oversight of utilities, while allowing for billions in rate hikes. However, supporters argue that it does not guarantee automatic rate increases, and retains the authority of state regulators over electric rates.

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