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Legislators Overturn Quinn's "Smart Grid" Veto

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Legislators Overturn Quinn's Veto

Illinois lawmakers have approved major changes to the state's electricity system over Gov. Pat Quinn's veto.

Both the House and Senate voted to override the governor Wednesday, rejecting his argument that the legislation guarantees unfair profits to power companies and seriously weakens the oversight power of state regulators.

The Senate voted 36-19 (with two voting "present") to override. Moments later, the House did the same on a 74-42 vote.

The legislation lets ComEd and Ameren raise rates to pay for roughly $3 billion worth of improvements to electrical systems, including the creation of a high-tech "smart grid."

"The consumers of Illinois are deeply disappointed in the General Assembly’s action today to give Commonwealth Edison and Ameren guaranteed annual rate increases for each of the next 10 years… and so am I," Quinn said in a prepared statement issued by his office late Wednesday afternoon.

"The fight for consumers against unfair utility practices will go on and will never end as long as I am governor," he said.

It's expected residential customers will pay about $3 more per month.

Supporters said the legislation will create jobs and help customers conserve energy. Critics called it a sweetheart deal for the utilities.

The vote is largely attributable to Quinn's inability to find support within his own Democratic leadership. Both House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton were on the other side.

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