Illinois Legislators Must Stop Utility Rate Hikes Bill

Sep 12, 2011, 12:07 ET from AARP Illinois

AARP Commends Governor's Veto of SB1652

CHICAGO, Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from AARP Illinois Senior State Director Bob Gallo:

"On behalf of our 1.7 million voting members, AARP would like to commend Governor Quinn for standing up for consumers and vetoing Senate Bill 1652.

With the recent rise in gasoline and food prices along with increased taxes the citizens of Illinois are no longer in a position to foot the bill for what amounts to decades of utility company neglect of their own infrastructure.  

The current economic hardship not only affects seniors on fixed incomes and those still working but also the newly unemployed who are struggling to get back to work, many of them wondering if they ever will. Saddled with rising prices they can no longer afford, many families are one utility bill away from losing their homes!

Senate Bill 1652 is not about smart grids or modernizations of the electric grid. It's about higher rates and higher guaranteed profits for utility companies!

As former CIA Director James Woolsey recently said - "A so-called smart grid that's as vulnerable as what we've got is not smart at all. It's a really, really stupid grid."

ComEd and Ameren can and should have been reinvesting existing revenues in their infrastructures all along, instead of asking consumers to foot the bill. One has to wonder what have ComEd and Ameren done with the nearly $640 million that has been approved in rate increases since 2007?

It is no coincidence that JD Powers and Associates' 2011 Electric Utility Residential Consumer study ranked both companies in the bottom three of the 17 utilities serving the Midwest.

Senate Bill 1652 is nothing other than rate hike legislation aimed simply at guaranteeing profits and stifling the concerns of consumers. Members of the General Assembly must rethink who benefits from this and why.

AARP, along with Governor Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the Citizens Utility Board and many more groups have been fighting since day one against this disingenuous legislation and will continue this fight until the Governor's veto stands.