The state of Illinois has received a letter that usually is reserved for customers who don’t have enough money in the bank — a disconnect notice from the electric company.
Power to state offices could be shut off because the state has not paid its electricity bills for several months.
The president of the board of the Southwestern Electric Cooperative confirmed in an interview that his utility had sent the state a shut-off notice, The Belleville News-Democrat reported.
Technically, the offices’ electricity should have been shut off months ago. The number of state agencies not paying has “far exceeded our disconnection for non-pay policies, with some of the accounts being subject to disconnection as much as four months ago,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by the newspaper. The agencies were not identified but the letter was addressed to the District 11 Headquarters of the State Police in Collinsville, Illinois.
State Cannot Pay its Bills
“Officially we don’t talk about any of our members’ or customers’ bills or what they owe, but it’s out there now,” Alan Libbra, the president of the cooperative board, told The News-Democrat. “We sent the letter to the appropriate offices, and who released it I don’t know.”
The bills are unpaid because the state legislature and Governor Bruce Rauner have been unable to agree on a budget. The legislature is controlled by Democrats, and Rauner is a Republican. The state controller’s office cannot cut checks unless there is a budget in place.
“Without a budget or a court order, the comptroller’s office is prohibited by law from making payments,” Rich Carter, a spokesman for the controller’s office, told The News Democrat.
State Cannot Pay Bills for State Capitol
The bills to the cooperative, which serves parts of Madison, Bond, Clinton and St. Clair counties, are not the only ones the state cannot pay. The State Journal Register reported that the only reason Christmas lights will shine at the state capitol in Springfield this year is that three local unions are paying the bill.
The secretary of state’s office had announced there would be no Christmas lights because it could not afford the electricity needed to power them. The Basic Crafts Council, a group of three unions, stepped forward to pay the $7,500 electric bill.
Meanwhile, state lottery winners are still waiting for their payments because of the budget gridlock at the state capitol, Off The Grid News recently reported.
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