by Todd Wineburner with Dave Dahl
Legislation that created the term "Smart Grid" passed in 2011 as an incentive to get energy companies to invest in infrastructure. Now Commonwealth Edison and Ameren are arguing that the Illinois Commerce Commission's bureaucracy has cost them money by interfering with their progress under the plan, so they're asking for permission to raise rates to cover the losses.
ComEd President Anne Pramaggiore told Illinois Senators that the Smart Grid legislation was designed to create a more streamlined, efficient system, but the opposite has happened. Opponents say the electrical interests are just looking for more money, and ratepayers are an easy target. Scott Musser is a lobbyist for AARP who says the Senate shouldn't be dealing with the issue at all. Because it's a question of interpretation of law, Musser says the decisions should be made in the courts.
Lawmakers disagreed with Musser's position and passed S.B. 9 out of executive committee.