Quinn throws "off switch" with veto on bill to raise Ill. electric rates | St. Louis Public Radio

Quinn throws "off switch" with veto on bill to raise Ill. electric rates

Sep 12, 2011

Updated 1:25 p.m.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has followed through on his promise to veto legislation electric utilities fought hard to pass.  Quinn says it would be too costly for power customers.

It was never a question of if the Governor would reject it, but when.  The plan would give utilities more latitude in raising electric rates in exchange for additional investment in what is known as a "smart grid."  Supporters of the package say a more modernized way of delivering electricity would improve reliability and eventually save households and businesses money. 

But Quinn says it lacks consumer protections.

"It may be  a dream come true for Commonwealth Edison, but it's a nightmare for consumers in Illinois," Quinn said. 

Com Ed and Ameren heavily lobbied state lawmakers to approve the plan in the spring.  Quinn's veto means more will need to sign on to override.  The Governor says Illinois can do a better job upgrading the electric grid and protecting rate payers than what is called for in the legislation.  Quinn made his announcement flanked by the state's Attorney General, Chair of the Illinois Commerce Commission and consumer groups.