Two Reminders of the ComEd Rate Hike Bill, Promoted as “Smart Grid”

ComEd meter reader's footprints will be no more after "Smart" meters are installed.

Looking out the bedroom window this morning, I saw footprints in the snow on the driveway.

They went to the back of the house all the way to the electric meter.

Besides the primary goal of increasing the cost of delivering electricity to its customers, Commonwealth Edison and Ameren (the Southern Illinois power company) are going to use some of the extra money to attach a meter that will do away with meter readers…at least the ones that make footprints on snowy days.

The other reminder was in a Chicago Tribune editorial cartoon.

It had the White House, Washington Capitol and a “state capitol” that looks suspiciously like the one in Springfield with money coming out of every door and window.

You know why that reminded me of the ComEd/Ameren rate hike bill, right?

If not, perhaps you should take a look at the article I wrote about contributions to Illinois’ State Senators who voted for the bill:

2011 Campaign Contributions from Those Interested in Allowing Com Ed & Ameren to Hike Electric Rates without ICC Approval

I had dinner Sunday with a State Representative and other politicos present, as well as a couple of normal people.

The symbolism for at least the ComEd rate hike bill in this editorial cartoon is just too apt.

There was a vigorous discussion between me and the outspoken defender of the “Smart Grid” bill.

Believe it or not, I don’t think I started it.

It was someone discussing how intrusive the Smart Grid meters could be, how if you were using more electricity than some government regulator might rule “necessary” that ComEd could use the new meter to cut off your electricity.

It was after this civil liberties criticism of the legislation and its defense by the bill’s supporter that I advanced my opinion.

I explained how Samuel Insull’s secretary discovered I was a state legislator on a train ride to Springfield. He filled me in on why Insull created the Illinois Commerce Commission.

The reason was simple.

It was easier to bribe a majority of the small ICC than a majority of the Illinois General Assembly.

Now, it seems to me, history has come full circle.

Power companies cannot influence the Commerce Commission the way they used to.

So, it’s back to the Illinois House and Senate.

And influence is not peddled by putting cash into legislators’ hands anymore.

It’s done with campaign contributions.

A massive substation is next to the Tollway in Hoffman Estates.

And, on the substance of the debate, how ridiculous, not to mention illogical is is for those maintaining the electric power grid to complain that they need higher rates to repaid what they have allowed to fall into disrepair.

These folks have had state-sanctioned monopolies since Samuel Insull’s time.

In return for the monopoly power, wouldn’t you think they had the absolute responsibility to deliver electricity when and where it is needed?

And as for ComEd getting faster notice when power goes out, whenever I call–and we have power coming from the east and the west–I have no problem making a report.


Two Reminders of the ComEd Rate Hike Bill, Promoted as “Smart Grid” — 3 Comments

  1. Cal:
    Good article on smart grid/meter issues. I am doing a session on Smart Meters on 2-22 at the Cosman Center. Question: do you have a resource who could provide information on status of installation of Smart Meters in McHenry county? I hope to provide attendees at our session with an update on Exelon plans for installations. All help appreciated! Details about the session are on our site, Thanks!

    Bill Broderick
    Huntley Tea Party

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