The quest to bring the smart grid to Illinois did not stop with the first veto override of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act in 2011. In many respects it fueled the clash between regulators, utilities and Governor Quinn. Enter Senate Bill 9 ending the debate. It is designed to:
(i) be a restatement and clarification of existing law,
(ii) give binding effect to specified legislative intent, and
(iii) supersede specified final orders of the Commission.
So there is no doubt as to who won the battle, Senate Bill 9 provides:
… that each participating utility shall be deemed to have been in full compliance with all requirements of certain provisions of this Act and all Commission orders entered pursuant to specified provisions. Provides that the Commission shall not undertake any investigation of such compliance and no penalty shall be assessed or adverse action taken against a participating utility for non-compliance with Commission orders associated with this Act.
In a statement released by Ameren Illinois, the company says after the original law was passed, Ameren Illinois launched its Modernization Action Plan (MAP) to create 450 jobs and invest an additional $640 million over a 10-year period to improve the reliability and performance of its electric delivery infrastructure. The plans included hiring hundreds of workers to install advanced meters, strengthen poles, replace cables and deploy new technology, such as intelligent switches and sensors that can detect and isolate outages for faster service restoration.
The job creation element of the bill received the support of the nearly 900,000-member Illinois AFL-CIO. Its president, Michael T. Carrigan, said, “Modernizing the electric grid will put Illinoisans back to work in good-paying jobs.”