Chicago Sun-Times
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Senate overrides Quinn ComEd rate-hike veto

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SPRINGFIELD-The Illinois Senate Tuesday rejected Gov. Pat Quinn's veto earlier this month of legislation that would grant Commonwealth Edison roughly $70 million in new, annual rate hikes as part of a modernization of its electricity grid.

The override passed on a 44-11 Senate vote, with one member voting present. It needed 36 votes to undo Quinn's veto. Now, the legislation moves to the House for an override vote.

The utility made a hard pitch for Senate Bill 9 as a response to a series of adverse Illinois Commerce Commission rulings on a utility-driven "smart-grid" law that was enacted in 2011 and involved a $2.6 billion upgrade to its transmission network in exchange for a decade worth of annual rate hikes.

"The governor claims in his veto message that SB 9 is an 'unprecedented interference' in the ICC's ratemaking authority. That's simply not true," said Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).

After the ICC decisions against it, ComEd postponed installation of new smart meters in Chicago and suburban homes and businesses until 2015, though the firm vowed to move up that installation to later this year if the legislation took effect.

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