Statement By CUB Executive Director David Kolata On Gov. Quinn's Veto Of Chicago Coal-to-Gas Plant
CHICAGO, Aug. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed SB 3766, a bill that would have hit Ameren and Nicor customers with about $3 billion in construction and maintenance costs for a proposed coal-to-gas plant in Chicago. The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) commends the governor for standing up for Illinois consumers and vetoing a bill that would have unfairly dumped the lion's share of the plant's costs on consumers in suburban Chicago and Central and Southern Illinois. CUB is willing to work with Leucadia National Corp. and other parties to structure a proposal that is fair to all Illinois consumers. Thanks to all who used CUB's Action Network to send 1,700 messages asking the governor to veto this unfair bill.
SB 3766 would have required Ameren and Nicor to sign 30-year contracts to buy natural gas from Leucadia National Corp.'s proposed Chicago "clean coal" plant, which would convert coal into gas. Ameren and Nicor customers would have been required to cover all or nearly all of the $3 billion in costs to build and operate the plant, and could have paid significantly higher rates.
This is the second time Gov. Quinn vetoed a pro-Leucadia bill. Last year, the governor got out his veto pen and forced the company to make concessions, applying a cap on rate increases and creating a $150 million fund to help soften the blow to consumers.
A new bill passed the General Assembly, but then Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, two Chicago-area utilities, dropped out of the proposal, concerned about the costs. Leucadia then tried to make Ameren and Nicor customers pay for 95 percent of the costs. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), which had to approve the final agreement, ruled that Nicor and Ameren could not be forced to pay for nearly all of the construction and operating expenses. Legislators responded with SB 3766, which would have forced Ameren and Nicor to cover those costs.
CUB is Illinois' leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds over the years. For more information, call CUB's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556 or visit CUB's award-winning website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
SOURCE Citizens Utility Board