Statement By CUB Executive Director David Kolata On State Appellate Court Decision Upholding $37 Million ComEd Refund
CHICAGO, Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "We have good news for consumers at the end of a long legal fight that dates back to a 2007 rate case. The Illinois Appellate Court has upheld a ruling that Commonwealth Edison customers deserve a $36.7 million refund. Consumer advocates never gave up on this battle, and we're happy to hear that ComEd has been ordered to refund its customers for money it shouldn't have had in the first place. We hope that ComEd follows the ruling of the Appellate Court and does not appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court."
-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. (The rate case began in 2007.) The State Appellate Court ruled that the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) was wrong to allow ComEd to raise rates while ignoring a key part of 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 Illinois Commerce Commission (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. However, a 5-0 vote by the ICC overruled that recommendation in February 2012.
-ComEd then appealed the ICC decision to the Illinois Appellate Court, arguing that because it under-earned during the refund period it shouldn't owe customers anything. However, in an opinion filed Monday, Sept. 30, the Appellate Court affirmed the refund order. See the opinion here: http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2013/2ndDistrict/2120334.pdf.
-ComEd has about 30 days to appeal the decision to the Illinois Supreme Court.
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