May 25, 2023

ICYMI: Springfield Lawmakers Considering 11th Hour Bill to Block Competition for Electricity Transmission Projects – Crain’s Chicago Business

Right-of-First-Refusal (ROFR) Bill Would Raise Electricity Rates for Illinois Families and Businesses

ICYMI – Springfield lawmakers are considering a last ditch attempt to ram through legislation that would block electricity transmission competition in Illinois, according to Crain’s Chicago Business, a bill that will lead to higher electricity bills for Illinois families and businesses. The proposal, which comes on the eve of the end of the legislative session, would be a massive giveaway for an incumbent monopoly utility, Ameren Illinois. 

The legislation is the latest in a series of right-of-first-refusal bills (ROFR) introduced in states across the country that aim to prevent competition. A similar last-minute legislative push in Iowa was rejected by the Iowa Supreme Court, which blasted the ROFR in a scathing opinion as “quintessentially crony capitalism.”

Paul Cicio, Chair of the Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition was quoted in the story saying that ROFR bills prevent competition and “result in higher rates.”

Crain’s Chicago Business Journal:

A bill has bubbled up suddenly in the final days of the Legislature’s spring session that could give downstate utility Ameren Illinois a highly lucrative gift and leave Commonwealth Edison in the cold. 

There’s sudden momentum in the state Senate for legislation that would give Ameren the right to box out competition in its service territory to build any new high-voltage lines.

Illinois is only the latest in a string of states to consider “right of first refusal” bills pushed by incumbent utilities. The effort comes as investment in new transmission wires grows. Federal cash from the Inflation Reduction Act and actions by regional power-grid managers are leading to more spending on infrastructure to connect renewable power sources like wind farms in remote areas to population centers like Chicago.

Rights of first refusal for incumbent utilities “prevents these very large, very expensive transmission projects from being competitively bid,” says Paul Cicio, chairman of the Electrical Transmission Competition Coalition in Washington, D.C. “It will result in higher rates.”

Read the full article here.


About the Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition

The Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition (ETCC) is a broad-based, nation-wide coalition committed to increasing competition in America’s electricity transmission infrastructure. We advocate for common-sense policies and solutions that result in competitively priced transmission projects, which reduce energy costs for all ratepayers – from large manufacturers to residential consumers. The ETCC represents a diverse group of more than 80 companies and organizations from all 50 states, including manufacturing groups, retail electric consumers, state consumer advocates, public power representatives, think tanks, and non-incumbent transmission developers.

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Press Contact:
Julian Graham



Read How the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Failure to Enforce Transmission Competition Will Lead to Decades of Electricity Price Inflation for American Consumers.