Suburban officials lobby to uphold 'smart grid' veto

October 11, 2011

Suburban government officials are calling on Illinois lawmakers to uphold the governor's veto of legislation backed by Commonwealth Edison.

Members of the Northwest Municipal Conference said the electric company should make improvements to its infrastructure and response systems that left thousands without power for days earlier this year. Wilmette village president Christopher Canning says those improvements must come before ComEd is allowed to raise rates for new “smart grid” technology.

“The communications problems, the reliability problems, the infrastructure problems exist and will not be solved by smart grid,” said Canning.

Members of the conference called ComEd's response to July's massive thunderstorms, which left more than 850,000 people without power, “abysmal”.

In September, Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed legislation that would have allowed the state’s two electric utility companies to raise rates in order to make improvements to the power grid, dismissing it as a power grab.

ComEd insists a smart grid system is necessary to get customers back online quickly after outages and save money in the long run.