Central Illinois Light Co. unveiled its electric choice bill, which, if enacted, would allow residential customers to choose their electric suppliers beginning Jan. 1, 1998. The proposed legislation appears to conflict with another competition bill introduced Nov. 19, 1996 by the Illinois Coalition for Responsible Electricity Choice, which advocates a phase in of choice from 1997 through 2005. CILCO is the only major electric utility in Illinois that is not behind the Nov. 19 bill.
The CILCO bill, "Consumer Freedom To Choose Electricity Law," was introduced on Jan. 29 in the Illinois House by Deputy Majority Leader Ralph Capparelli (D), Assistant Minority Leader David Leitch (R), and Rep. Ricca Slone (D). CILCO estimates that competition would save consumers almost $300 per year.
CILCO Chairman and CEO Robert O. Viets called the competing bill "anti-competitive." He pointed to the stranded-cost issue as one example, noting that the CILCO legislation requires hearings before allowing their recovery.
CILCO's bill calls for competition for all customer categories at the same time. Any transition fees or stranded costs would have to be approved by the state commission on a case-by-case basis. Utilities with rates higher than the Midwest regional average would have to lower rates to the average within three years. (em LB
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