State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) voted to stop customers of Commonwealth Edison and Ameren from facing steep, annual electric rate hikes.
Barickman joined ten other Senators who voted against Senate Bill 9 May 21. The measure passed the legislature initially in March, but was vetoed by Governor Pat Quinn on May 6. The legislation essentially overrides an Illinois Commerce Commission decision to stop $100 million dollars in rate hikes for ComEd and $50 million for Ameren customers.
In his veto message, Governor Quinn said, "Senate Bill 9 continues a troubling pattern of departing from more than a century of regulatory oversight of utility company monopolies in our state."
Barickman agreed and on Tuesday he voted to uphold the veto when the bill came back before the Senate.
“There is a process in place for utility companies to go to the ICC, ask for a rate increase, prove their case, and hold public hearings, all before increases can be granted,” said Senator Barickman. “Essentially, the legislature just decided to strip the ICC of its oversight authority. This will cost consumers dearly.”
The retroactive rate hikes are tied to a 2011 bill to override the ICC and allow the power utilities to drastically increase rates to pay for a new “smart grid” power system.
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