SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Rate rage roundup - The morning after

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007

* We’ll start our coverage with today’s Tribune story

Lawmakers, school officials and mayors lashed out at utility companies Tuesday in a rare public hearing before the full House, saying skyrocketing electricity bills are forcing consumers to choose between food, medicine and heat.

“I can’t begin to describe the crisis and calamity going on,” said Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), sitting by a bundle of constituents’ bills 2 feet high. “The scales of justice in this state are out of whack.” […]

The hearing unleashed pent-up rage over bills that began arriving in consumer mailboxes about the time House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones reached a stalemate over how to address one of the biggest pocketbook issues the two Chicago Democrats have faced in years.

* Meanwhile, ComEd claimed they don’t have a rate problem up north, and blatantly threw Ameren under the bus

“Yes, there’s a serious issue in the state of Illinois,” Clark said. “But it’s not all over Illinois and 75 percent of the customer base in Illinois is not having that problem. Now do we need to address the situation in southern Illinois? Absolutely.”

* Sun-Times

Madigan said he’s “still very hopeful” that the Senate will support another freeze, even though Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) stymied a similar plan in January.

Ameren and ComEd executives have said another freeze would wreak financial havoc on their companies.

* Madigan called the ICC-imposed “reverse power auction” nothing more than a fix

“That auction is nothing more than a fix,” Madigan said. “It’s a fix for Exelon and other large power producers that can produce power at costs so low that when you compare the cost of producing the power against the price set by the reverse clock auction, there’s enough spread (that) the financial houses from New York have become buyers and sellers of power in Illinois. That’s not right.”

* And Ameren offered up a “compromise“…

The president of Ameren’s Illinois utilities, facing a roomful of angry state lawmakers Tuesday, vowed one-time partial refunds to Illinoisans who have been socked with unusually high power bills this month — a $20 million gambit apparently designed to persuade the Legislature not to re-regulate electric rates.

* But as I told you last night, when I was the first to run a brief piece on the Ameren proposal, the Speaker turned thumbs down, claiming the Ameren offer (which totaled $35 million) was insufficient.

* Lawmakers comment on electric rate hikes

* Outlining the program options offered by ComEd

* And a Daily Herald semi-blogger registered his complaints.

Making the management of the proceedings even more questionable was the fact that it was 7:30 p.m. before the Ameren CEO took the witness stand to explain why some of his company’s customers are seeing power bill increases of 200 to 300 percent and tell lawmakers what he planned to do about it. Scott Cisel, the Ameren CEO, outlined an 8-point plan of customer relief only to have it largely dismissed by downstate members who openly accuse the company of lying to them about the effects of rate hikes.

But by then, Mayor Daley was being declared the winner of yet another term in Chicago and across the state, media attention was turning to key local races, particularly downstate where there aren’t the resources in many media markets to cover both the hearing and the elections. And, unlike the hearing, the elections were producing results Tuesday night.

At nearly 11 p.m., ComEd’s CEO still had not testified or taken questions.

* Soundclips from committee of the whole hearing [Madigan’s full statement will be posted later this morning in the subscriber-only section]

- Posted by Rich Miller        


18 Comments
  1. - Ghost - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 11:23 am:

    There needs to be a compormise. A power buisness needs to be able to charge an amount that allows it to run a profitabkle business. A company cliaming it is on the verge of bankruptcy begs the question of what is its real financial shape. To my simple persepctive, any discussion about rates needs to begin by having ameren etc open up their books and show what it really costs them to provide power to illinois residents. from their rates should be set. If the companies fairly need the increase because we kept the rates artificially low, then perhaps a phase in plan. If the rates are higher then actually needed so that the companies can use the long freeze as an excuse to reap large profits, this should be stopped.

    Alternatively, move to Springfield and experience govt. owned power :)


  2. - RickG - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 11:33 am:

    Kudos to ComEd for publicly admonishing Ameren. If I were a ComEd publicist I’d be slamming them top to bottom, because it only makes my company look better by comparison.


  3. - Way Northsider - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 12:11 pm:

    Rich - thanks for this post. It is a complicated topic and you have made a really nice job of organizing the information. I don’t have a comment on the subject contents themselves but did want to let you know your work is read and appreciated. I hope you keep covering this and also the gross receipts discussion.


  4. - Whizbang - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 12:12 pm:

    Finally…. somebody in the GA understands at least part of the sham. Madigan’s comments about the auction are refreshing although nothing will probably happen to rectify the situation. Now if we can only get them to understand how the utility holding companies sold fully depreciated plants to their generating arms for full prices and are now figuring those into the rates. Good luck folks.


  5. - Cynthia Munoz - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 12:55 pm:

    Certain groups like UNO supposedly helping minorities and speaking for the community really sold out to ComEd and Peoples Energy. They went with the grant money and Big Business and not with the people or consumers. How do groups like this have any credibility?


  6. - Westside - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 1:07 pm:

    These problems started 10 years ago when they passed the rate freeze. Inflation has happened to everything expcept electric rates. These companies are in business to make profits and I am sure there cost have gone up in the last 10 years and it has to passed on to the consumer. This law should have never passed because in the long run it was not in the consumers best interest but it made the Reps back then look like heroes and that is what they were looking for.


  7. - Gregor - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 2:09 pm:

    All these polls are twigging just now that if this doesn’t get fixed pronto, they are all out of jobs next election. Unless they got enough under-the-table cash from the lobby groups to retire on, they need to “Come To Jesus” immediately.

    Months before the freeze ran out, I predicted that the ultimate compromise would be a gradual ramp-up of rates over several years. The power companies should have curtailed their greed up-front and pretended to amke “reasonable” increases of a percent or two. Like in that story of the frog in the pot full of hot water: if you raise the temp slowly enough, he never thinks to jump out, until he’s cooked and it’s too late.

    the utilities instead threw kermit in the microwave and set it on “glow in the dark”.

    Idiots.

    Now the pols have no other recourse but to make a big show of re-freezing the rates and then thawing them out more gradually next time.

    BTW, where the heck is Rod? Hiding out until someone else solves this mess he helped create with his padded boards and commissions? How much did HE get from utilites to contribute to the campaign?


  8. - TellAll - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 2:15 pm:

    Many voters are now wanting to know about who received contributions from Ameren and its affialiated PACs, and some mention is made about the possibility that AmerenCIPS’s chief spokesperson may be the Chairman-In-Waiting of a county Republican Central Committee; it’s very, very, awkward.


  9. - Squideshi - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 2:44 pm:

    Nice ploy by ComEd. Keep the rates low until the threat of action has subsided, THEN raise the rates.


  10. - Mr. CUB - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 3:29 pm:

    Did Frank Clark have anything interesting to say when he testified? Was anybody still awake?


  11. - Frank Booth - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 4:39 pm:

    Mr. Clark talked about how many hi-efficiency light bulbs ComEd gives out and how they need to educate people about the bulbs because most people think they’re ugly (the bulbs) and don’t want to use them.

    Then Rep. Mary Flowers began quoting from Wikipedia entries about the California blackouts and asking him to respond.


  12. - Disgusted - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 7:05 pm:

    I understand profit and loss, however, I also understand marketing and bad publicity. If both these monopolies do not show their true costs, including the pots of gold and golden parachutes their executives receive and show that they are essentially buying electricity from themselves and selling it to us at these outrageous rates, their good name is going in the outhouse.

    And if they suddenly find the money, in their supposed nearly impoverished state, to buy a nukie in Texas, then they can kiss their credibility and any support from the public goodbye. And by the way, where is Milarod?? Chickens–t.


  13. - Sango Dem - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 7:47 pm:

    Does Emil Jones not realize that he’s destroying what remains of the Democratic Party in downstate or does he just not care?

    Ameren was already a criminal organization run by crooks and now they’re abusing their monopoly power to rape their unwilling costumers. I hope most of downstate decides to start public utilities and co-ops after this. The private sector is NOT WORKING!


  14. - DRB - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 8:17 pm:

    Just remember everyone, this is entirely the Democrat party who brought on this rate increase. The Dems could have done something to help control this. Instead, they did nothing.


  15. - State Worker w/ MBA - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 9:02 pm:

    “These companies are in business to make profits and I am sure there cost have gone up in the last 10 years and it has to passed on to the consumer.”

    Ameren made something like 650 million profit in the 4th qtr of 06. How much do they need?


  16. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Feb 28, 07 @ 11:06 pm:

    DRB, the GOP controlled the Senate and the Mansion in 96-97. They are as much to blame, and not extending the rate freeze last spring or fall could have resulted in a halt of power supplies.

    Let’s not forget that people in Southern Illinois paid less for years as a result of frozen rates and all-energy incentives. Also, I wish that politicians like Mike Bost and John Bradley would show some concern for sky-high property taxes in the suburbs. Those paying very high rates are also faced with major issues, and what are we to tell them? Move or live with it? Tough? That’s not fair, and people south of I-80 need to remember that nugget.


  17. - Madison County Watcher - Thursday, Mar 1, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    Who is the “chairman in waiting” of a GOP county organization that is also spokesperson for AmerenCIPS? Or what county are you referencing?


  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 1, 07 @ 6:33 pm:

    ComEd is not completely innocent here.

    They pulled the rug out from under us all-electric customers (after enticing us with discounted rates) without clear advance warning that their rate increases would be a lot more than the publicized 25 percent.

    The new rate schedules should have been mailed to customers several months ago so people could make energy saving changes in advance, but they only arrived with the second bill at the new rates.

    They’ve also offered few tips on how to save energy to reduce bills, when customers need the help the most.

    While the surprise hurts, I’m otherwise glad for the extra incentive to figure out more ways to save energy.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Afternoon updates
* "Not Recommended Budget" would cut $450M from education
* Protect Patient Safety – Don’t Let Psychologists Prescribe
* Question of the Day
* Then and now
* Like deja vu all over again
* Kirk to campaign for Oberweis afterall
* Today's numbers
* Morning Shorts
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Adobe Photoshop Express update brings borders and ‘pet-eye’ fix
        * Moto G now available with Republic Wireless
        * Dropbox weaves cloud photo service Loom into Carousel
        * You May Soon Get a Response to Your Windows Phone App Review
        * Google offering up dummy Glass units to prospective buyers
        * Cloud versus Local storage: a tug-of-war for your data
        * Facebook announces ‘Nearby Friends’, let’s you meet up on the go

        * LED Light Bulb Sale, Pixelmator and Photoshop, Retina iPad Minis
        * Twitter Introduces ‘App Install’ Ads
        * Roku Brings Its Awesome Universal Search to Android and iOS
        * Nissan Offers Free And Easy Charging For LEAF Cars
        * Google has released an iOS app for its Helpouts service that connects you via video chat with expert
        * Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ Encourages Unplanned Meet-Ups in Real Life
        * Home Try-On Program For Google Glass Launched

        * Three questions after a four-reliever inning
        * Despite taking loss, Garcia savors pitching experience
        * Sale, Lester set for marquee matchup in finale
        * Bullpen springs late leak in White Sox loss
        * Alexei homers to push hitting streak to 15 games
        * Red Sox 6, White Sox 4 (14 innings): Leury Garcia pitched
        * Bullpen springs late leak in White Sox loss


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Drug treatment programs would take hit if Illin.....
        * Judge Puts Off Ruling in Suit Against Rutherford..
        * Anti-violence rally sparked by shootings..
        * House Orders Audit of Anti-Violence Funds..
        * CPS Students Want State Lawmakers To Fix 'Broke.....
        * Trails get funding..
        * Stevenson to play host, model for Friday’s Sust.....


        * Illinois gives early OK to $100M for Obama museum
        * Judge puts off ruling in suit against Rutherford
        * Illinois medical marijuana rules drop gun language
        * New SIU president to start work next month
        * Robber who was homesick for prison to be sentenced
        * Mayor urges Illinois to OK $100M for Obama museum
        * Fake Peoria mayor Twitter account prompts raid
        * Kirk promotes stroke research funding, treatments
        * Chicago casino plan draws more support at hearing
        * New warden named for Menard prison

        * Tough tax votes loom for lawmakers
        * Judge puts off ruling in suit against Rutherford
        * Lawmakers to discuss money for Obama library
        * Illinois House committee gives early OK to $100M for Obama museum
        * Quinn promotes autism awareness at Brookfield Zoo
        * Broadcaster Samuelson named to Illinois Racing Board
        * Gun language dropped from state medical marijuana rules
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Battle on for GOP state party post
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Scherer got more than $90,000 from Madigan in primary
        * Report: Big cuts to state aid for schools if tax expires

        * GM doesn't have to order customers to park recalled cars
        * Chipotle plans first price hike in 3 years
        * Sears stock jumps after director buys big chunk of shares
        * Chicago firms subpoenaed in high-speed trading probe
        * Rocky and Marilyn Wirtz donate to Northwestern's theater program


        * CTA plans L overpass at Belmont to eliminate bottleneck
        * CTA narrows possible routes for proposed Red Line expansion
        * Boy, 15, charged with shooting 14-year-old in West Pullman
        * Aldermen searching everywhere for alternatives to property tax hike
        * Officials nix proposed rule barring medical pot users from getting gun ID cards
        * Another pol’s spouse got money from Quinn’s anti-violence program
        * Proposed rule allows gun ID cards for medical pot users
        * Anti-violence funds paid for salary of another pol’s spouse
        * 500-plus drivers sign up for pay-by-phone parking option in West Loop
        * Palos Heights man shot, casino winnings stolen in home invasion


        * State drops plan to prohibit medical pot users from owning guns
        * House committee OKs $100 million for Obama library
        * Boy, 15, charged with wounding boy, 14
        * Survey: Americans say no to robots as caretakers and meat grown in a lab
        * Mayor forms task force to study locations for Lucas museum
        * CTA: 16 buildings need to be razed to speed up Red, Brown, Purple lines
        * Northwest Indiana mayor, wife and step-daughter indicted
        * Police searching for two boys, 9 and 11, taken by mother
        * Police release video of attack on Skokie Swift train
        * Medical marijuana entrepreneurs decry fees


        * Interview: John Tinker & The Landmark Case On Students' Right To Free Speech
        * State Legislation Hints At Marijuana Legalization
        * Plan Threatens Proposed Downstate Casinos
        * Raising Gax Tax "Unwise," Says Quinn, But Offers No Other Ideas
        * How Much Would Your School District Lose?
        * Illinois Senate Joins Push For U.S. Constitutional Convention
        * Study: Pre-K Education Provides For Economic Growth
        * The Vanishing Millionaire Tax
        * City Approves More Video Gaming Despite Upcoming Ordinance
        * Rutherford: Dismiss Sexual Harassment Lawsuit


        * Judge puts off ruling in suit against Rutherford
        * Illinois House committee gives early OK to $100M for Obama museum
        * Gun language dropped from state medical marijuana rules
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Scherer got more than $90,000 from Madigan in primary
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Scherer got more than $90,000 from Madigan in primary
        * Tom Bertrand: Poverty grants contribute to inequality among Illinois schools
        * Report: Big cuts to state aid for schools if income tax increase expires
        * Comptroller Topinka reports $125K in income
        * Addiction experts: Illinois budget cuts could hurt drug treatment
        * Legislative hearing on Chicago casino begins


        * Well-known artist to help Jersey schools
        * It all began in 1894 when Franklin Olin established “The Western”
        * SouthPark to begin demolition next week
        * Wahl Clipper plans new corporate headquarters in Sterling
        * Man accused in southwestern Ill. heroin death
        * Man must pay cabbie $7,000 as part of DUI plea
        * 'Here to stay': Old-school coal is making a comeback
        * Belleville: What's a name say about a city?
        * Gaming commission rejects Cedar Rapids casino plan
        * SAFB security reviewing surveillance footage for images of attempted abduction suspect


        * The 10th District money race
        * Aurora Democrat calls out IHSA
        * Lawyers: Ill. hazing law vague, unconstitutional
        * Ill. House OKs lower-cost hunting bill for seniors
        * Quinn’s running mate takes new consulting job

        * Schock: IRS official should be prosecuted ...
        * Aaron Schock selfies from the audience at ...
        * Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure® A...
        * Schock Praises Illinois Counties for Top N...
        * GOP House Dinner boosts Rep. Aaron Schock ...
        * Danvers Farmer Hopes To Unseat Schock - CI...
        * Lewis lauds Dirksen's role in civil rights...
        * Schock opponent Darrel Miller speaks to te...
        * Congressman Wants IRS Official Prosecuted ...
        * Representative Aaron Schock on Tax Reform ...

        * Loading Koch Industries Website Too Many T......
        * Maryland and DC among worst for food aller......
        * Cleveland State University to reestablish ......
        * Convicted political boss Al Sanchez runnin......
        * Candidates make last filings for local, st......

        * Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon opposes pension le......
        * Dillard Odd Man Out on Pension Deal Reaction...
        * Sen. Mark Kirk sides with Rauner on pensio......
        * Governor's race infighting threatens pensi......
        * SCHOONERS - Home of Everyone's Favorite Be......

        * Chicago Aldermen Offer Alternative Revenue Ideas For Pension Fix
        * House Democrats' Committee Sitting On $40M Fund
        * State appeals Naperville police chief pension ruling
        * Illinois taxpayers owe $56B in unfunded retiree health care costs
        * CPS Students Want State Lawmakers To Fix 'Broken' School Discipline Policies
        * Quinn Reports $8.8 Million In Campaign Funds
        * Details on admissions of bribery by state Rep. Derrick Smith
        * Weyermuller: "Taxed Enough Already" rally in St. Charles
        * Preckwinkle's First Quarter Campaign Funds Dwarfed By Emanuel's Haul
        * VOYCE Student Leaders Speak Out Against Harsh School Discipline Policies


        * Governor Quinn Releases First-Ever Illinois Bike Transportation Plan - Plan Formally Makes Bicycles Part of Illinois’ Long-Range Transportation Vision
        * IEMA, American Lung Association Announce Winners in Student Video, Poster Contests - Winning entries unveiled during IEMA’s 11th Annual Radon Networking Day
        * Governor Quinn to Address Small Business Advocacy Council Annual Meeting - Will Discuss His Proposals to Drive Small Business Development and Expansion
        * Governor Quinn Honors Jackie Robinson - Barrier-Breaking Baseball Player Was American Icon
        * Governor Quinn Urges Homebuyers to Act Fast and Take Advantage of Welcome Home Illinois Program - Program Offers First-Time Homebuyers Down-Payment Assistance and a 3.75 Percent Interest Rate on a 30-Year Fixed Mortgage




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller