Reporting from WCBU's Denise Molina-Weiger used in this report.
Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn is traveling the state urging lawmakers to uphold his veto on a measure that allows Ameren and ComEd to automatically raise electric rates on consumers. The utilities say the rate increases are necessary to help pay for modernizing Illinois’ power grid.
Rate increases would go into effect immediately if the veto is overridden. The Illinois Commerce Commission could later intervene if they don’t agree with the expenditures made by Ameren and ComEd, or believe the rate hikes are too high. Quinn says he’s not against improving electric infrastructure.
"I'm for a comprehensive energy bill in Illinois that has proper oversight of the utilities by the Illinois Commerce Commission that doesn't have automatic rate hikes and automatic profit margins for the utilities," Quinn said. "I don't think we should have anything automatic period in Illinois. There should always be accountability."
Quinn says residents should go to the website saynotoratehikes.org to oppose the legislation. Republican State Representative David Leitch voted for the measure in the spring and says he plans to help in trying to override the governor’s veto.
"What we're trying to do in this bill is to get on top of the problem that everyone knows is out there, and sooner than later bring that grid system into the 21st century instead of the early 20th," Leitch said.
Lawmakers will need a supermajority to override the governor’s veto. The veto session begins Oct. 25.