Chicago, IL, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — May 8, 2013 – Illinois governor Pat Quinn has vetoed Senate Bill 9 that was aimed to clarify existing legislation pertaining to the deployment of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and smart grid in the state.
“I cannot support legislation that puts the profits of big electric utilities ahead of the families and businesses of Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “… This bill sends Illinois in the wrong direction. We cannot allow big utilities to force automatic rate hikes on the people of Illinois by going around oversight authorities each and every time they do not get the decision they want."
Quinn’s office argues that SB 9 was pushed by the utilities in response to Illinois Commerce Commission rulings last year that denied proposed rate hikes that weren’t needed for the utilities to make promised investments, and would cost Illinois’ families and businesses too much. SB 9 circumvents the commission’s well-established oversight authority and puts several of those rate hikes into Illinois law.
As a result of the ICC rulings both ComEd and Ameren Illinois put parts of their smart grid programs on hold until they were resolved.
So far neither utility has commented on this issue, which is not entirely unexpected, and nor are the next steps clear. Previously in 2011 Governor Quinn vetoed then Senate Bill 1652, similarly arguing against “massive electric rate hikes.” However, this was overridden by the General Assembly to bring the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act into force, under which the utilities’ smart grid programs would be implemented.