A 2011 law allows Illinois’ two big electricity providers to increase their rates in exchange for modern infrastructure investment. Ameren and Com Ed say they want more money from customers to make up for what they did not make last year because of the Illinois Commerce Commission’s red tape.
Ameren’s Richard Mark tells a Senate Committee the ICC misinterpreted the bill and the mistake hindered their progress.
“The action from the ICC has made us put that on delay," says Mark. "With the support of Senate Bill 9, we hope to clarify those misinterpretations by the ICC. They will allow us to move forward as planned."
AARP Illinois lobbyist Scott Musser says this belongs before judges, not senators.
“This is an issue of the ICC somehow misinterpreting the law that was passed by the General Assembly,” says Musser. “The appellate court will recognize that and make those changes. Instead, what we have now is another bite at the apple by the utility companies; what we think the issue is a drafting error and not a misinterpretation. Unfortunately, the people on the line who will pick up the cost of this drafting error is the Illinois consumer.”
He calls the bill a retroactive rate hike by Ameren and Com Ed, and accuses them of greed. The utilities say they’re just following the law.
The bill will help the companies raise money to move forward with improving their infrastructure. The idea is to create a system that reduces power outages and restores power sooner when there is an outage. The Senate bill passed an executive committee and now heads to the floor for a full vote.