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Illinois Legislature overrides Gov. Quinn’s veto of ComEd rate-hike bill

Police officers teachers caregivers other rank-and-file public servants joIllinois AFL-CIO members protest state's pensisituatiIllinois Gov. PQuinnÕs oppositiarbitrators ruling AFSCME pay

Police officers, teachers, caregivers and other rank-and-file public servants join Illinois AFL-CIO members to protest the state's pension situation and Illinois Gov. Pat QuinnÕs opposition to arbitrators ruling on AFSCME pay raises and closing facilities, at the Illinois State Capitol Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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Updated: January 23, 2012 2:54AM

SPRINGFIELD — The Senate and House voted Wednesday to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of utility rate-hike legislation, handing Commonwealth Edison seeming victory in its pursuit of the $2.6 billion package and dealing a major setback to the governor.

“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.

“The fight for consumers against unfair utility practices will go on and will never end as long as I am governor,” said Quinn, who had made the defeat of the ComEd legislation his top priority for the veto session.

The Senate voted to override his veto of the rate-hike bill by a 36-19 vote, with two voting “present,” while the House voted 74-42 to override.

Those actions follow a 91-24 vote in the House Wednesday on legislation to increase how much ComEd must pay to storm-proof its transmission system, lower the amount of profits the utility could claim and create a fund to help needy ratepayers pay their electricity bills.

That sweetener legislation, backed by ComEd, was designed to soften opposition to the override effort.

Residential consumers can expected to pay about $3 more per month in higher electricity bills that will underwrite efforts by ComEd to modernize and storm-proof its power grid during the next decade.

“The problem we have in Illinois for the last 100 years [is] we have been operating on power created by Thomas Edison, and Thomas has been gone a long time,” said state Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), sponsor of the override effort in the Senate. “What we need to do is upgrade that power.”

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