(Springfield, IL) – October 26, 2011. A veto by Governor Pat Quinn of a bill to upgrade the Illinois electric grid, the so-called “Smart Grid” plan– has been overridden by both the Illinois House and Senate.
“The Infrastructure Modernization Act paves the way for an upgraded energy infrastructure that will ensure better reliability while creating more jobs within Illinois,” stated State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and the bill’s sponsor.
The Senate voted 36-19 and the House, 74-42, to override Quinn.
“The Smart Grid is an automated power system that monitors and controls grid activities, ensuring a two-way flow of power and information between Illinois consumers and Illinois utility companies,” Jacobs added.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1652, will allow for electric grid modernization, reform the traditional regulatory structure of utility rates, and will create the framework to ensure that the utility companies deliver on the benefits promised to consumers, according Jacobs
Under this proposal, ComEd and Ameren are required to make major investments to modernize their infrastructure throughout the state. This legislation also allows ComEd and Ameren to offer an opt-in rebate program that is designed to provide rebates to residential customers who reduce their use of electricity.
Not all lawmakers were as enthusiastic as Jacobs over ComEd and Ameren’s initiative.
“I regret to say the Com Ed bill passed,” State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), a backer of Quinn’s veto, posted on his Facebook page.
“I hope that we can find a solution to update utility infrastructure without compromising consumer rights and protections,” said State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) who voted to sustain Quinn’s veto.
Jacobs, however, insists consumer protections are embedded in the new law.
“Through the months of negotiations I have worked to ensure that the interests of consumers remained the top priority,” said Jacobs, whose father, ex-Senator Denny Jacobs (D-Moline) is a registered lobbyist for ComEd, a fact that led a scuffle on the Senate floor between the junior Jacobs and a GOP senator earlier this year.