The story of “smart grid” is not over. A 2011 law allows Illinois’ two big electricity providers to increase their rates in exchange for modern infrastructure investment. Ameren and Com Ed say the Illinois Commerce Commission’s red tape has kept them from carrying out what they are supposed to, and they want more money from customers to make up for what they did not make last year.
“The Smart Grid bill was designed to improve reliability, create operational savings for our customers, and, frankly, create jobs,” said Anne Pramaggiore, Com Ed’s president. “And the law guarantees that these outcomes occur.”
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Opponents say it’s all about greed. “This is an issue of the ICC somehow misinterpreting the law that was passed by the General Assembly,” says AARP Illinois lobbyist Scott 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.”
State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) took exception, arguing that it’s legislators, not judges, who can speak to legislators’ intent.