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House Bill could affect your electricity bill

By: Amanda Vinicky |

Illinois’ new governor has his first opportunity to determine the fate of legislation. Bruce Rauner’s decision could affect how much you’re paying for electricity.

House Bill 3975 took a strange and winding path to get to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk. The plan allows Ameren and ComEd to continue asking customers to pay for upgrades to the electric grid; in many cases that means a higher electric bill.

The legislation rushed through the General Assembly late last year, after Rauner had made Gov. Pat Quinn into a lame duck. But rather than send it onto Quinn, who could have vetoed, Senate President John Cullerton used a parliamentary maneuver to put it on hold.

Cullerton lifted his hold at the last minute, once Rauner had been sworn in. Then the legislation met another snag.

The Democratic leader of the House, Speaker Michael Madigan, sat on it for a month before allowing it to reach Rauner. Madigan’s spokesman wouldn’t say why.

Whether the stalling tactics will help the measure become law remains to be seen; Gov. Rauner’s office would only say that it’s under review.