Update on HB 14/SB 1652For months, CUB has been fighting to improve the initial version of House Bill 14 (now Senate Bill 1652), a measure pushed heavily by ComEd and Ameren. It would allow the companies to get yearly rate hikes in exchange for modernizing the power grid. Gov. Pat Quinn promised to veto the intial version of HB 14/SB 1652. Since then the following changes have been made:
-The bill automatically sunsets after fivee years. (The original bill extended to an entire decade.)Although this is a step in the right direction, major “checkbook issues” remain. For example, CUB needs to see strong metrics in the bill that would force the companies to modernize the power grid in a way that will actually save consumers money.
-The rate hikes have been capped at a 2.5 percent increase on total bills.
-Gas utilities have been taken out of the legislation.
-ComEd has said it would agree to an extennsion of the Illinois Power Authority’s authorization to contract for electrical purchases until December, 2017. The current authorization expires in May, 2012. ComEd claims this could save customers up to $1 billion.
-Provisions about "smart grid" policy, eneergy efficiency, and distributed generation have significantly improved. (The "smart grid" is another way of describing upgrades to the power grid. CUB is cautionsly optimistic that such modernization, if done right, could make deep cuts in consumer bills.)
What can I do?
Use CUB's Action Network to send a message to your legislator to improve HB 14/SB 1652. Or, use AARP's special legislative hotline, 1-800-719-3020, to call your state legislators.