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The "Natural Gas Consumer, Safety, & Reliability Act" would enable Ameren to pass some modernization costs on to consumers, accelerating upgrades to Illinois' transmission, distribution, and technology systems. According to the release, an average residential user would incur an additional penny per day in gas bills for the next ten years.
"This plan enhances our ability to meet the current and future needs of our gas customers while creating 150 good-paying jobs and maintaining strong consumer protections," said Ameren Illinois CEO and President Richard Mark in a statement. "It is a win for Illinois customers, businesses and labor."
Although the Senate has passed the act, it now heads to Governor Pat Quinn's desk for final approval. The governor recently vetoed a smart grid bill, noting that he was "disappointed that the General Assembly did not protect consumers from overreaching by utility monopolies like ComEd and Ameren." The veto was overturned last week by the state's House of Representatives.