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Simon urges senior citizens to support smart grid veto 

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon wants state lawmakers to support the smart grid bill veto

Illinois Radio Network
September 14, 2011
By Jim Anderson

CARBONDALE – Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is asking senior citizens to tell their state lawmakers to uphold the governor’s veto of the smart grid bill.

She spoke at a senior center in Carbondale on Tuesday, saying a smart grid is a good thing. However, she said this particular bill would have been a burden on electricity customers.

“This bill would have set aside a particular profit for the utility companies, guaranteed for some period of time,” she said.  “That, of course, comes at the expense of all of us who pay our power bills.”

The bill calls for electrical infrastructure investments to the tune of $3 billion over 10 years, but it circumvents the Illinois Commerce Commission as arbiter of those electric rates. The governor vetoed it over consumer concerns, and Simon wants lawmakers to uphold the veto. Talks are under way to rework the legislation to satisfy the governor.

Simon said she recognizes that it’s a difficult vote for lawmakers, because investing in the power grid will be an environmental benefit, produce jobs, help businesses and industry and might lead to lower electricity prices in the future. But she said the rate hikes now, enshrined in statute, are a tough sell

The rates affected would be the delivery rate, which everyone pays regardless of which company actually provides the electricity.