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|Utiltities Hoping to Recover Costs of System Upgrades Through Legislation
|(IRN)-Illinois utility companies continue to lobby in favor of the so-called Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (HB14) that would allow them to recover the costs of expansive system upgrades.
But the measure also has its opponents.
Paul Gaynor of the attorney general's office still isn't convinced there are enough consumer protections in place, and fears the measure could lead to automatic, annual rate hikes.
"Based upon $2.6 billion of investment using ComEd's proposed rate of return, the cumulative additional cost to ratepayers would be approximately $1.8 billion," Gaynor said Tuesday in testimony before an Illinois House committee in Springfield.
Com Ed's proposed $2.6 billion in infrastructure improvements would span the next 10 years, which the utility says would create thousands of temporary and permanent jobs.
House Bill 14 proponents say such opposition is shortsighted, because the plan will create cost savings down the line. For example, State Representative Kevin McCarthy (D-Orland Park), the bill's sponsor, says upgraded grid technology will result in roughly 550,000 fewer power failures every year.
"All those costs go back on you and I [sic] the rate payers," McCarthy said. "So if some of those costs are eliminated or reduced, because it's done as part of a program, as opposed to part of an emergency because they're out of electricity, that of course is the highest-cost way to replace energy."
HB14 has gone through a series of "subject matter only" hearings in house committees, but has yet to come up for a formal vote in any chamber. McCarthy plans to call a floor vote before the General Assembly adjourns next month.
(Source: Illinois Radio Network)
|04 05 11 by Newsroom
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