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SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday again threatened to veto legislation allowing Illinois’ two major utilities to raise their rates to pay for electrical grid upgrades.

In a joint statement with Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the governor said the proposal would guarantee profits to Ameren Illinois and Commonwealth Edison, without adequately protecting consumers.

“Utility companies must not be given a blank check to spend billions of dollars at the expense of the hard-working men and women of our state,” they said in the statement. “They should justify their multi-billion dollar investment plans before consumers are on the hook to pay for them.”

State Rep. Kevin McCarthy, an Orland Park Democrat who is sponsoring the proposal, said he hopes to call it for a floor vote soon.

Leigh Morris, a spokesman for Ameren Illinois, said the legislation will keep Illinois economically competitive and create jobs. Under the measure, Ameren must create 450 jobs.

“The bottom line is, this thing just makes for good state policy,” Morris said.

The legislation calls for a 10-year investment program that must be reauthorized by the legislature in 2017.

The Governor’s Office estimated that rates for Ameren customers would go up by $34 a month at the end of the program in 10 years.

Ameren disagreed. Morris said that at the beginning of the program, a typical Ameren residential customer would pay an extra 10 cents per month on his or her electric bill, but this would gradually increase over the 10 years, and eventually be about $2.80 per month, or about $34 a year, at the end of the program.

The legislation is Senate Bill 1652.


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