the Honorable Members of
Today, I return House
Bill 3445, an energy omnibus bill, with specific recommendations for change.
House Bill 3445 is an
omnibus energy bill that makes changes to the Adjustable Block Grant program to
make it more available to public schools, requires IPA to conduct a study
evaluating several policy proposals, amends existing law regarding siting for
renewable energy projects, requires the Illinois Commerce Commission to conduct
a thermal energy network workshop, and gives incumbent utility providers the right
of first refusal over new transmission projects in the MISO region.
administration appreciates the hard work of the sponsors of this legislation in
the House and Senate. House Bill 3445 contains many valuable provisions to
advance energy policy in Illinois. However, the right of first refusal language
inserted by Senate Amendment 4 will eliminate competition and raise costs for
rate payers by giving incumbent utility providers in the MISO region a monopoly
over new transmission lines. Raising costs for rate payers is particularly
concerning in the MISO region, where there is currently over $3.6 billion in
planned transmission construction in the Ameren service territory. Without
competition, Ameren ratepayers in downstate Illinois will see higher
electricity bills to pay for the higher cost of these transmission projects.
Competitively bidding transmission construction, instead of giving the utility
a monopoly, has been proven to lower project costs significantly. Just
last year, the federal Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission
criticized a similar right-of-first-refusal proposal at the federal level,
citing the benefits of competition to consumers through lower rates, improved
service, and increased innovation. (Comment of U.S. Department of Justice and
Federal Trade Commission to Building for the Future Through Electric
Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation and Generator
Interconnection, FERC Docket No. RM21-17-000 (Aug. 17, 2022)). My administration has
always been committed to working with stakeholders and our partners in the
General Assembly to enact meaningful energy policy. However, I cannot support the
ROFR provision of this legislation that will unnecessarily put a higher cost
burden on consumers.
Therefore, pursuant to
Article IV, Section 9(e) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return
House Bill 3445, entitled, “An Act Concerning State Government,” with the
following specific recommendations for change: On Page 217, line 7, delete “and
Article XXIII” and delete the entirety of the language added beginning on page
220, line 18 and continuing through page 224, line 17.
With the above
changes, House Bill 3445 will have my approval. I respectfully request your