Rauner approves bill allowing more utility rate hikes

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed into law a measure that grants two more years of rate hikes for two of the state’s electric utilities.
The law extends a “smart grid” oversight program that would have ended in 2017 and required the utilities to apply for rate increases to pay for upgrades.
Commonwealth Edison and Ameren Illinois now will continue to receive formulaic rate hikes through 2019 to cover the cost of installing smart-grid technology.
The two-year extension was approved by the General Assembly during the fall veto session last year. Senate President John Cullerton held onto the bill until former Gov. Pat Quinn left office before sending it to Rauner.
Ameren has said it has taken longer than expected to install digital electric meters and make other improvements.