A utility modernization bill that is being criticized as a bonanza for power companies could get a new life in the fall veto session in Springfield. Gov. Pat Quinn had vetoed the “Smart Grid” legislation, which some advocacy groups saw as an unfair benefit for utility giants Ameren and ComEd. A new bill is intended to be a companion piece.
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“We would equalize the investment in the existing infrastructure and the Smart Grid technology,” said State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), the sponsor of the follow-up bill. “Under the original bill, the majority of the funds, $1.5 billion, would have been invested in the Smart Grid, and just over $1 billion would have been invested in updating the current infrastructure. It’s been a common complaint I’ve heard that we need to increase the funding for the existing infrastructure to diminish the frequency and duration of outages.” Representatives of AARP Illinois and the Illinois Commerce Commission testified against the bill during a committee hearing Monday evening. HB 3036 has passed the Senate Executive Committee, 14-1.