By: Mitch Smith
But the bill passed the General Assembly by healthy margins, and legislators could override the veto this month.
Quinn, a Democrat, cited practicality and precedent as he slammed the black ink of his veto stamp onto the bill at a news conference in Chicago. The governor said families and businesses can’t afford a rate increase, and he expressed concern about a “very disturbing process” in which ComEd sought relief in the legislature after a disagreement with its regulator, the Illinois Commerce Commission.
Improving the grid is important, Quinn said, but legislated rate increases are the wrong way to do it.
“We cannot allow big utilities to take over and run roughshod over families and businesses,” Quinn said before stamping the bill with so much gusto that he sent a pen on the table tumbling to the floor. “We’re not going to let the utilities run Illinois.”
ComEd argues that the bill is needed to support its Smart Grid program, a modernization plan that it says would create jobs, reduce the likelihood of outages and give consumers more say over their energy consumption. The utility issued a statement Sunday expressing disappointment with the veto and asking lawmakers to pursue an override. ComEd has said that the average residential customer bill of $82 per month would increase by about 40 cents in 2014 and by about 80 cents in 2017 if the bill were enacted.
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