Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Vote shows how much control ComEd has over our pocketbooks
By Ray Hanania
Commonwealth Edison is all about wealth and less about Thomas Edison’s driving desire to serve mankind with electrical power.
The ComEd combine steamrolled through Springfield’s legislature this past session doling out donations and roping in legislators to back its push for a rate increase.
In the neighborhoods, many homeowners were dragged in the fight when their electricity – in many cases for absolutely no reason – went out for hours. It was kind of like the mafia coming by and busting your store window to remind owners to pay-up of face the consequences.
The consequences for the public are steep. Their rates will again go up. And for what? Continued erratic and lousy service.
ComEd continues to play the pauper while it is the abandoned son of Exelon the multi-billioned profit center parent. Exelon threw ComEd out of the “house” so it could separate ComEd’s financial needs from Exelon’s profits. How can you pretend to be in need of money when you are one of the wealthiest companies in America? So Exelon cut ComEd from its corporate structure creating all kinds of phony distances so ComEd could profess to be the pauper.
Meanwhile, ComEd’s lobbyists and media minions worked the legislature like the Mafia on Chicago’s South Side, even to the point of having colleagues vote on behalf of the skittish few.
ComEd’s spin machine claimed that the new increases would help them to improve the delivery of electricity through a new “smart grid” system. They only need $3.5 billion. (They probably spent that much for the army of lobbyists who swarmed through Springfield to push for the consumer rate increase.)
Amazingly, the ComEd army sold the hapless legislators on the anemic argument that a rate hike will actually save consumers money.
Gov. Pat Quinn was right when he pointed out that something stinks in the passage of the ComEd “Smart Grind” legislation – the name was a lobbyist’s wet-dream. Supposedly it will help improve the service so neighborhoods won’t experience so many electricity service shutdowns. After pummeling residents in neighborhoods in legislative districts where legislators were on the fence with electricity shut downs, those legislators managed to somehow cast a shaky vote or walked away from the vote so that their colleagues could cast their votes for them.
Gov. Quinn rightly calls it a theft of representation, but suddenly Quinn is the bad guy in this. Suddenly the media which touted Quinn as the best alternative to the scandal-plagued former governor Rod Blagojevich – who never met a friend he could turn in to an enemy – and now somehow Quinn is worse.
How fast the media whores can spin their ethics?
The "smart grid" measure passed 36-19 in the Illinois Senate. There was no debate before the House voted which rallied for a rate hike and ComEd’s lobbyists by a whopping 74-42 vote, making the vote veto-proof.
It’s a snub against Quinn but the real victims are consumers. The utility company managed to once again find a way to increase rates without a whimper from our centurions in the legislature. Centurians? More like puppets.
The bill was sponsored by:
In the Senate, Mike Jacobs, John O. Jones and John J. Millner. In the House, by Kevin McCarthy, Mike Bost, Dave Winters, Kenneth Dunkin and Dan Reitz.
McCarthy’s legislative office is in the ComEd hit zone that was targeted for electrical shut-offs. There were five just in the past month in that area, each time for several hours during the day. No explanation. No one cares except the homeowners stuck in their homes wondering what the hell happened.
Here’s how your legislator voted to give ComEd, which provides terrible service, a means of increasing rates and Exelon’s profits. House Vote followed by Senate vote -- (By vote and by last name except where last names are similar to other members):
HOUSE VOTE, Oct 26, 2011
74 YEAS 42 NAYS 0 PRESENT
Y du Buclet
Y Burke, Daniel
Y Mitchell, Bill
Y Mitchell, Jerry
Y Chapa LaVia
Y Davis, Monique N Kay
Y Mr. Speaker Madigan
Y Davis, William
(y – Yes, N – No, E - Excused Absence)
Senate Bill No. 1652 OVERRIDE VETO
MOTION IN WRITING THIRD READING
Oct 26, 2011
36 YEAS 19 NAYS 2 PRESENT
Y Collins, A.
Y Johnson, T.
Y Jones, E.
Y Jones, J.
Y Mr. President Cullerton
N Johnson, C.
P Collins, J.
(Y – Yes, N = No, P – Present, NV – No Vote cast)