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Lt. Governor Simon, AARP urge legislature to side with consumers 

 
SB 1652, trailer bill guarantee annual rate increases, huge profits and lax regulation for ComEd, Ameren

SPRINGFIELD – October 25, 2011. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, AARP Illinois, and other advocacy groups rallied outside of the state capitol today in opposition to two bills that would automatically increase electric rates annually for the next 10 years, while eliminating regulatory checks and balances that protect consumers.

Simon and the advocates urged the General Assembly to uphold Governor Quinn’s veto of SB1652, which would write utility company profits into state law by guaranteeing a return on equity of over 10 percent and erode the Illinois Commerce Commission’s regulatory authority. The trailer bill, HB3036, guarantees virtually the same profit margin with lax regulation.

"Senate Bill 1652 is not the smart way to build a smart grid. And House Bill 3036 is no smarter," Simon told the crowd of 150 advocates, before they dispatched to the state capitol to meet with legislators. "Illinois residents deserve the strong consumer protections that come from real regulation, and we must say no to guaranteed corporate profits."

“It is simply wrong for Illinois lawmakers to allow ComEd and Ameren to bolster their corporate profits on the backs of Illinois consumers,” said Nancy Funk, an AARP volunteer from the Decatur area.

“We don’t need to beat around the bush about why we are here today,” said Dr. Alvin Love, President Emeritus of the Baptist General Convention of Illinois. “We are here to send a strong and clear message to Illinois lawmakers: do not override the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1652.”

Simon and AARP, along with Governor Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and numerous advocacy, consumer and community organizations have opposed Senate Bill 1652 since it was first introduced. The measure narrowly passed both chambers in the spring and was vetoed by the Governor in September. The groups are strongly urging legislators to uphold the Governor’s veto and oppose the trailer bill.

AARP is urging individuals to call, toll free 1-800-719-3020, and urge their legislators to uphold the Governor’s veto. Further information and action steps are available at: http://saynotoratehikes.org.