Senate to take up energy bill expected to raise energy costs for consumers, businesses | Illinois

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(The Center Square) – The energy bill the Illinois Senate is set to take up Monday comes with a huge price tag for taxpayers and utility ratepayers.

The Senate approved a similar measure earlier this month in Senate Bill 18, but he House took up a different measure Thursday with a few tweaks in Senate Bill 2408.

About $700 million of ratepayer subsidies would go to Exelon in the bill. State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, said there is strong ethics oversight to free up the funds.

“I’ll just be very honest, I don’t trust Exelon,” Hoffman said after the bill passed. “I don’t.”

The company, with a subsidiary under federal investigation for bribing Illinois lawmakers, is set to close some of its nuclear fleet without the bailout.

Ensuring strong ethics over the nuclear deal, state Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savannah, said there also needs to be scrutiny if the cost to taxpayers to prop up renewable energy some say is not reliable.

“The renewable component again will cost Illinoisans $18 billion over the next 30 years and it will continue beyond that,” McCombie said.

Estimates on how much residential consumers’ utility bills would increase each month range from $3 to $15. The increase could be much higher for business consumers, such as manufacturers.

Another part of the sweeping energy legislation is an eclectic vehicle rebate of up to $4,000 for select areas of the state, like Electric motorcycles are not included.

The measure only gives the rebate to a handful of counties in the Chicago area including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Grundy, Kendall and Will counties.

On the floor of the House, state Rep. Dan Calkins, D-Decatur, called out state Rep. Marcus Evans Jr., D-Chicago, who sponsored the bill for denying constituents downstate the ability to get the rebate.

“You’re willing to give yourself one,” Caulkins said.

“It may be a misunderstanding of the language, I can review that with you,” Evans said.

“No, it’s right there in your bill,” Cualkins said.

Also right in the bill, language says the definition of electric vehicle “does not include electric motorcycles.” Josh Witkowski with motorcycle lobby ABATE of Illinois said they pushed to be included, but were left out.

“When you say ‘oh, we only want to target primary modes of transportation,’ you’re now saying you’re willing to treat certain sections of the citizenship as second-class road users,” Witkowski told WMAY.

He urged the governor to rethink that part of the bill. The governor’s office didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Witkowski said motorcyclists will continue to push to be treated equally, and to have such a rebate be statewide, not only for specified countries.

The Senate during a special session scheduled for Monday takes up the measure on final passage before it is sent to the governor’s desk.

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Caleb Alexander

Caleb Alexander

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