Quinn vetoes electric rate hike bill

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday said he fulfilled his pledge to protect Illinois consumers from massive electric rate hikes when he vetoed Senate Bill 1652.

The bill, Quinn said, would have allowed Illinois’ utility companies to impose billions of dollars in automatic rate hikes every year for the next decade, while eroding more than a century of consumer protections.

“More than 1.5 million people and businesses have had to deal with power outages and services disruptions this summer,” Quinn said. “Now these same utilities are trying to change the rules to guarantee themselves annual rate increases and eliminate accountability. I will not support a bill that contains sweetheart deals for big utilities, which could leave struggling consumers to pick up the tab for costs such as lobbying fees and executive bonuses. We can ensure innovation and investment in our electric grid, and create new jobs, without compromising core safeguards for Illinois consumers.”

Quinn said in a press release the legislation would strike more than 100 years of Illinois consumer protection law and weaken the oversight ability of the Illinois Commerce Commission to reign in excessive rate hikes that will heavily burden consumers and disproportionately harm seniors, minorities and low-incomes households.

“This bill would have been devastating for Illinois consumers,” Attorney General Madigan said. “At a time when people are already struggling to pay their bills, the utilities want to make an end run around the regulatory process and stick consumers with huge annual rate increases for unproven technology—all so they can guarantee their profits for the next decade. That’s not a proposal I can support.”

Quinn also announced his support for reforms proposed by the Illinois Commerce Commission that move Illinois toward modernizing the electric grid, reforming the regulatory system and protecting rate payers.