Illinois Electricity Market

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois lawmakers are tossing out lots of buzzwords on the electric rate issue this spring: generation tax, procurement, power authority, and competition.

Beyond the jargon is the fact that the Illinois General Assembly could end up making decisions that will affect electricity bills for years to come.

The House and Senate could change the auction process for how utilities buy power, or even send the state into the business of buying, selling or producing electricity.

They could go back to the old regulation system or stick with deregulation to encourage competition.

Lawmakers say they're committed to answering these questions because the state's electric future is at stake and they want to avoid policy mistakes made in the past.

But with only a few days left in the scheduled spring session and no consensus on the immediate problem, some lawmakers predict the long-term questions could be put aside for now.

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