AARP, Groups, Set to Stop ComEd's Rate Increase Express

Mar 28, 2011, 16:00 ET from AARP Illinois

Organizations Urge Illinoisans to Contact Legislators, ICC, to Derail Rate Hikes, Prevent Regulatory Changes

CHICAGO, March 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As ComEd seeks yet another huge rate increase affecting millions of Northern Illinois consumers, and pushes for legislation that would allow virtually all utility companies in Illinois to increase their rates automatically for several years, consumers are at risk of being overrun by a Rate Increase Express – unless immediate action is taken to stop it before it leaves the station.

AARP, along with the Office of Illinois Attorney General, the Citizens Utility Board, and numerous community organizations today held a rally and a press conference on Chicago's Southside, urging consumers to take action, contact their legislators, call the Illinois Commerce Commission and stop ComEd's Rate Increase Express.

ComEd is seeking a $396 million delivery service rate increase, plus an additional surcharge for $196 million in technology investments, all expected to have a strong impact on customers' monthly bills. The utility giant is also pushing for legislation (House Bill 14) that would circumvent the ICC's regulatory authority and allow for automatic rate increases, silencing the voice of the consumer in the process.

"ComEd has been consistently raising their delivery rates since 2006 – and citizens have seen and felt the effects in their wallets," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois Senior State Director. "We need to act now because time is running out. Both rate cases must be decided by the Illinois Commerce Commission in May – and by the end of May we hope to put enough pressure on the legislature in Springfield to defeat the automatic rate increase legislation."

AARP held a community meeting with hundreds of Southside residents at Trinity United Church of Christ, and a press conference afterwards, with the Association and other advocacy organizations and community groups, as well as representatives from the Attorney General's Office and the CUB. The groups urged residents to call the ICC and their elected representatives in Springfield to defeat both the rate cases, and House Bill 14.

"House Bill Fourteen is not a problem only for ComEd customers in Chicago. This is an issue that involves everybody in Illinois, and we need everybody in the state to get involved," Gallo added.

Individuals can call 800-719-3020 – a toll-free number set up by AARP - to tell their legislators to say "NO" to HB 14. They can also call the ICC at 800-524-0795 and give their comments to oppose ComEd's rate cases (docket number 10-0467 and 10-0527).