12/8/16 – Rauner signs energy bill as ComEd announces delivery bump

Chicago Sun-Times

By Tina Sfondles

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday signed a massive energy bill, hailed as a way to save thousands of jobs while capping energy rates — just as ComEd announced it would pack on a $2 per month delivery rate increase.

The bill Rauner signed into law will immediately reduce monthly payments per customer by $1.18 next year. But ComEd also announced on Wednesday that it would add an annual delivery rate increase beginning in January, as part of its Smart Grid program to modernize ComEd’s infrastructure.

…a separate analysis by the Citizens Utility Board factors in the impact of energy efficiency. By 2022, when the commission’s report shows a small bump, customers will already see bill savings due to energy efficiency efforts, which should equate to a savings of about $2 per customer a month, according to CUB.

The Illinois Commerce Commission study was used in negotiations with Rauner’s administration. And the governor and his staff helped ensure a rate cap increase of 25 cents a month for residential customers of ComEd and Ameren for 13 years. It also limits increases on commercial customers to a 1.3 percent increase over last year’s rates….

The bill was a rare bipartisan success during the fall veto session — as a budget war rages on…

Rauner said the bill was “tough” to pass, with “a lot of fighting going on and a lot of different points of view.” But he said it’s a sign that bipartisan compromise can be attained when partisan differences are put aside….

Besides the plants, it’s being called the “biggest clean energy breakthrough in the state’s history” by environmental and consumer groups. Those advocates say 70 percent of the bill is focused on renewable energy efforts, and that it will bring $12 billion to $15 billion in renewable energy capital investment to the state.

It’s also viewed by environmental advocates as being based primarily to fix the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard — or to fix the state’s renewable policies by restarting the industry and allowing projects to be built in the state.

Read the full story at the Chicago Sun-Times.