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Pat Quinn, the governor of Illinois, reiterated his arguments against the recent smart grid bill in a statement on Tuesday, October 6, calling on lawmakers to uphold his veto.
Senate Bill 1652 was proposed to provide $2.6 billion for Illinois' utility companies to invest in improvements to the state's electricity grid, the hope being that increased knowledge of electricity consumption could lower electricity bills and improve service.
Illinois' state legislature passed the bill in late August, but the governor vetoed it in mid-September citing its potential to raise costs. One provision in the bill allows utilities to pass on some of the costs of the upgrade to consumers.
“When I vetoed this bill, I said that we need to make sure consumers are getting the quality service they already pay for,” Governor Quinn said in a statement. “More than 1.5 million people and businesses have had to deal with power outages and services disruptions this summer, and now these same utilities are trying to change the rules to guarantee themselves annual rate increases and eliminate real accountability.”
Illinois allows for competition among electricity providers, but an older transmission system and lagging generation capacity have pushed prices higher. The Chicago Tribune notes utility companies believe that, in addition to improving service, the bill could ultimately change how electricity rates are determined by allowing for more variable prices based on time and demand.