SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Dec. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Reproduced below is the full text of the letter sent today by AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo to Governor Bruce Rauner, urging him to veto Senate Bill 2814.
"Illinois consumers have seen soaring increases in utility bills across the state over the last few years, in particular since the Smart Grid law went into effect. ComEd alone has increased rates by a whopping $300 million since 2011. With the passage of Senate Bill 2814 consumers may be on the verge of a $13.3 billion rate increase, the highest rate hike in our nation's history.
We are deeply concerned by the strong pressure Exelon, ComEd, and Ameren put on legislators to rush this bill through the General Assembly during last week's Veto Session. This undue hastiness may have also impeded your staff from a detailed analysis of the legislation and its impact on both residential and business customers. From the start, utility companies rushed this legislation in a way that raised serious questions about lack of transparency and showed their disregard for our state's regulatory process.
An independent analysis of the legislation conducted by the BEST Coalition indicates the SB 2814 proponents' claim of limited impact on consumer bills is flawed. While Ameren is pointing to a monthly $3.94 increase in charges starting in 2017, and ComEd indicates an increase of $2.33 per month, BEST's analysis indicates that customers will see average rate increases of $4.54 per month over the life of the legislation. This means 25 years of guaranteed monthly rate increases, all to subsidize profitable utility companies at the expense of Illinois consumers.
Utility companies urged the General Assembly to pass the legislation on the basis of saving jobs at the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants owned by Exelon. While those jobs may be saved in the short-term, the long-term impact of this legislation on our state's economy will be deeply harmful. BEST's analysis indicates a potential loss of at least 44,000 jobs through 2030 as businesses across Illinois see skyrocketing energy bills forcing them to make cuts in their workforce or relocate to other states.
SB 2814 duplicates payments to generators from the two grid operators serving Illinois, MISO and PJM where Exelon lobbied for and got a capacity market payment and other enhancements. The bill requires use of inflated benefits via a mandated "total resource cost test" that uses speculative or non-existent benefits to calculate mythical power savings as far out as 2030. Worse, SB 2814 mandates several new automatic electric rate increase adjustment mechanisms as well as a make-whole revenue guarantee to the utilities known as decoupling or revenue regulation which puts further upward pressure on electricity rates. Further, the legislation erodes the role of state energy regulators (the Illinois Commerce Commission) by extending experimental formula rates which fast track spending cost recovery without traditional review.
At a time when individuals and companies are struggling due to the ever-rising cost of living, higher taxes and fees, and depleted state services, do you really want to send a message that profitable companies should be bailed out on the backs of Illinoisans who will pay unendingly higher utility bills and may lose their jobs? At a time when the State is still unable to negotiate a full-year budget, do you want to convey to Illinoisans that their elected officials are able to negotiate multibillion dollar bailouts for huge corporations?
We are also very concerned about the precedent that the enactment of SB 2814 may set for other industries which may struggle in the future. Will legislators bail out Illinois corporations such as Caterpillar, John Deere, or Walgreen's should they continue to be profitable yet decide they need to shut down particular facilities?
On behalf of our 1.7 million Illinois members, and all Illinois consumers we urge you to veto this legislation. We have submitted a FOIA request to obtain the bill worksheets relevant to the total rate impact and we will communicate findings to the public. We will let our members know how their legislators voted on this bill, and we also let them know whether you stood up on the side of your constituents across Illinois, or signed into law legislation that will have a deeply harmful impact on our state's economy, and the economies of millions of citizens, for years to come."
AARP Illinois State Director
222 N. LaSalle Street, ste. 710
Chicago, IL 60601
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aarp-urges-gov-rauner-to-veto-exelons-nuclear-bailout-bill-300373972.html
SOURCE AARP Illinois