Illinois OKs modernization bill for electric utilities

Reuters News
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Posted: May 31, 2011 8:23 PM
Illinois OKs modernization bill for electric utilities

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Illinois General Assembly sent Governor Pat Quinn legislation on Tuesday that is aimed at modernizing the state's electric grid.

However, Quinn, a Democrat, has vowed to veto the measure. He and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan characterized the legislation as a money grab for Commonwealth Edison, a unit of Exelon Corp, and Ameren Corp.

"This legislation locks in guaranteed, significant annual profits for the utility companies without real oversight by the Illinois Commerce Commission," Quinn and Madigan said in a joint statement issued on Sunday.

But supporters argued that the bill will ensure better energy reliability while creating jobs in the state.

"The energy infrastructure in Illinois is decades old, however, our need for electricity grows every day," said state Senator Mike Jacobs in a statement on Tuesday after the vote. "These smart grid improvements will allow us to meet these demands by implementing modern technologies and upgraded equipment."

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; editing by Carol Bishopric)