Statement by CUB Executive Director David Kolata on a $36.7 Million Refund for ComEd Customers
CHICAGO, Feb. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) applauds the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) for its 5-0 vote on Thursday approving a $36.7 million refund for Commonwealth Edison customers. It’s always good news when customers get money back in their pockets. But this victory is even more significant because the Appellate Court ruling that sparked the refund set a precedent in rate cases that will save consumers money on their utility bills for years to come.”
In September 2010, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and CUB won a joint appeal of part of a $274 million rate hike granted ComEd in 2008. In one of the biggest victories for consumer advocates in CUB’s 28-year history, the State Appellate Court ruled that the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) was wrong to allow ComEd to raise rates while ignoring potential customer savings from “accumulated depreciation” of the utility’s assets (trucks, plants, equipment-anything of value owned by ComEd). Depreciation lowers the value of a utility’s assets, which should be a key factor in how big a rate hike, if any, a utility gets.
After the appeal was won, the case went back to the ICC, where consumer advocates fought for a refund. An administrative law judge had recommended that the ICC not order a refund, arguing that the commission did not have the authority. Today’s ICC decision overruled that recommendation.
Most importantly, the Appellate Court decision set a new precedent in ratemaking in the state of Illinois-and that had a profound impact in
ComEd’s most recent rate-hike case. ComEd’s original $396 million request was eventually reduced by about 60 percent in 2011, partly due to the Appellate Court ruling.
CUB is Illinois’ leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds over the years. For more information, call CUB’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556 or visit CUB’s award-winning website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
SOURCE Citizens Utility Board