Elmhurst Aldermen Hope to Send a Strong Message to ComEd, Legislators
Time is running out to get the message to Springfield.
Scrambling to make a statement before the end of the Springfield veto session, Elmhurst City Council Monday fine-tuned a resolution they hope will send a strong, clear message to ComEd about the utility's attempt to get a Smart Grid bill approved by the state legislature.
Aldermen struggled with the desire to focus on Elmhurst versus the need to show support for a new bill that will win wide support in the General Assembly.
Last week, aldermen began work on a resolution addressing Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of Senate Bill 1652, which would have allowed ComEd to begin implementing a Smart Grid upgrade to the state's power system.
Monday, Mayor Pete DiCianni reported on his meeting with State Sen. Don Harmon (D-39th). Harmon will lead the drafting of a "trailer" to the bill, which would propose changes that might result in the governor's signature. DiCianni stressed that the city's resolution needed to be broad enough to give legislators direction rather than specific to Elmhurst. DiCianni said Harmon told him the trailer bill would be more "consumer friendly" than the vetoed bill.
But aldermen wanted to reinforce the city's need to see improvements in electrical reliability immediately.
"We're going to step up our game at this point," said 7th Ward Alderman Mark Mulliner.
The draft resolution calls for some specific actions from ComEd, including detailing the costs of the Smart Grid and needed improvements in Elmhurst, and considering burying power lines in "designated critical areas."
Resident Jeff Byrd, representing the stormwater subcommittee that was formed to address ComEd issues after the damaging floods of 2010, said he thought the draft resolution was too vague.
City staff agreed to tighten up the language and make more specific references to the city on some points. Because the remaining legislative session consists of only a few days in October and November, the council is expected to approve the resolution next Monday.
DiCianni said the final resolution would be sent to legislators and to top executives at ComEd.