Illinois State Legislators Say “Freeze”

Michael Giberson

As the fine folks at the Energy Legal Blog report: Illinois Considers Continuation of Retail Rate Freeze. Back in 1997, Illinois politicians cooked up the Illinois Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law, no doubt with ample input from industry and consumers in the state. The law mandated retail rate reductions of up to 20 percent and a multi-year freeze on rates that has already been extended once. Now legislators, continuing to lament the lack of competition, would like to vote themselves and other retail consumers another three years of frozen rates.

Legislators still love the customer choice thing, they just aren’t ready to commit. Or, as LL Cool J put it:

i know i said i would roll with you,
put my lifestyle on hold for you,
all them sweet things that i told you…
this conversation is overdue…

getting too wild to respect the vow,
i just ain’t ready to settle down,
my name too big in the ghetto now…

feels like i’m ready when i’m holding you,
but it’s so many honey’s what i’m sposed to do?
keep sending them apology notes to you?

Amazing what you can find with Google, a moment or two of time, and a willingness to quote LL Cool J in a serious discussion about boneheaded legislative action.

i kno it’s rough but i need your support,
you said it all last time that we faught,
so don’t talk baby hold that thought and…

don’t change…
don’t go…
don’t leave…
just freeze!

Of course Illinois state legislators still want customer choice — didn’t they make it clear back in 1997? — it’s just, you know, now is not the right time to settle down, is all they’re saying.

Additional background from the Energy Legal Blog here and here. Some of Lynne’s comments about Illinois retail rate policies are here, here, and here. Lyrics to LL Cool J’s song, “Freeze,” available widely on the internet. Just Google it.

2 thoughts on “Illinois State Legislators Say “Freeze”

  1. We in central Illinois are going to have power rates at just about the same level as California — way out of the Midwest ballpark. And that’s even higher than Com-Ed. Tell me, in a supposedly free market how these rate discrepancies can exist?

    Ameren customers in Illinois are already paying more than the Ameren customers in Missouri. Despite serving these regulated markets, Ameren is making a healthy profit. In this supposed free market there ought to be some competitors chasing these profits. So, is this not really a free market, or do free markets not work?

    As I understand the deregulation legislation, there were several things that were supposed to take place before customers had the “option” of purchasing from the utility with rates set by auction. One of these things was the option to have variable rates set by demand. This was supposed to occur something like five years ago. It hasn’t happened. There was also supposed to be choice introduced into the market. Hasn’t happened.

    Deregulation is going to be a tough sell from now on if deregulation is just an opportunity for a massive amount to be transferred from consumers to the formerly regulated monopoly.

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