By Jim Bowman
State Sen. Don Harmon issued an unusual threat to retail energy suppliers yesterday after tabling a proposal they oppose to reform the state's clean energy law. [italics added]
In a message circulated among groups and lawmakers negotiating the terms of the bill, the Oak Park Democrat criticized the Illinois Competitive Energy Association [ICEA], which represents suppliers, for claiming the measure would raise electric rates on residential customers.
What did he say that constituted "an unusual threat"?
"While we [he and another Dem senator and a Mike Madigan aide] question whether this suggestion [?objection?] can be supported with facts and figures, the mere specter is enough to give legislators pause, especially as we deal with other weighty issues in the veto session. . . .
"We would urge ICEA to use this brief delay [the bill's tabling] to prove up its suggestion with concrete dollar estimates and a clear explanation of how such estimates were reached. We will use this unexpected and unnecessary delay to consider other ways we may protect residential ratepayers from the vagaries of the competitive marketplace and the unfriendly conduct of some energy suppliers." [italics added][
Mr. Harmon didn't elaborate in the memo on what he meant by "unfriendly
At issue is a clean-energy addition to a 2007 law that
requires ever-increasing use of wind farms, solar panels, and other "renewable
In a Nov. 4 letter the retail suppliers group sent
to senators, association President Kevin Wright wrote, "While this proposal
[proposed fix of 2007 law] is well-meaning in its attempt to promote clean energy, the proposal's costs will be borne solely by household and small commercial customers who are enjoying meaningful cost savings during these difficult economic times." [italics added]
. . . . In a fact sheet accompanying the letter, the group said the bill "harms residential and small business electric competition/choice by raising (suppliers') . . . compliance costs to serve these customers in order to subsidize above-market wind contracts and new, in-state solar projects."
In other words. Harmon, Madigan et al. would stick it to the little guys barring some unspecified "other ways" to counter "vagaries of the . . . marketplace." Also unspecified are way to protect consumers from the vagaries of Democrat maneuvering in Springfield.
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