A Publication of WTVP

It’s hard to write about the electric rate fiasco taking place in Springfield right now, because as I write this I don’t know the outcome of this issue. What I can tell you is that this has been a political football between the Illinois House and Senate for far too long.

The electric rate freeze bill is in limbo as negotiations continue with Ameren and ComEd. Currently, the utilities have half a billion dollars on the table for immediate rebates to customers in exchange for the legislature discarding the idea of a rate freeze.

This is the right approach, in my opinion. The reason is simple: Do I want to see some money going immediately back to consumers to make up for the high rates they have paid since January, or do I want to cast a political vote for a rate freeze—knowing that it will not happen?

These are the facts. Passing a rate freeze will do nothing except send the issue to federal court, because the utilities have already prepared their lawsuit against the state of Illinois. Legal experts have told me that a temporary restraining order, or TRO, would most likely be issued, which would stop the state from enacting anything. It is also very questionable that the state could ever win such a lawsuit.

So when I balance getting some money back for consumers versus getting nothing back, the choice is easy.

Long term, the state of Illinois needs an effective energy policy. Here are a few ideas that are currently being discussed by some of the members of the Senate, including myself, who see this as an urgent need:

I would welcome your ideas as well. If you have a suggestion or comment, please email me at [email protected]. We need to keep moving ahead so we aren’t faced with an even more serious energy crisis down the road. We need to keep the lights on and the profits reasonable, for everyone’s sake. IBI