AARP Questions Latest ComEd Rate Increase Request

Jun 30, 2010, 18:02 ET from AARP Illinois

If Approved ComEd Customers Will Have Paid Nearly $700 Million Since 2008

CHICAGO, June 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Associate State Director Scott Musser of AARP Illinois:

Today, utility giant ComEd submitted a formal rate increase request to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) - seeking an additional $396 million for what ComEd is calling "modernization efforts."  The reality is that this rate increase will fall on the backs of ComEd customers who will see their utility bills increase by an average of 7%.  In a tight economy, when people are struggling to afford basic necessities, this rate increase comes at a bad time and AARP urges the ICC to thoroughly review ComEd's request.

Following its $270 million delivery service rate increase in 2008, ComEd now claims that they need additional money for improvements and investments in "smart grid" technologies that will result in fewer power outages.  ComEd's request also comes on top of additional surcharges that have already been approved for a "smart meter" pilot.  As part of the pilot, all 3.8 million ComEd customers will pay an additional $5 per year for service, despite the fact that only 133,000 new meters will be installed.  These "smart meters" are another example of unproven technology that customers are being forced to pay for at a time when many are struggling.

In addition, several months ago, ComEd and parent company, Exelon, offered the state of Illinois a $500 million inducement to allow ComEd to freeze utility rates above current market levels.  Luckily, the state did not accept ComEd's offering, but it is certainly ironic that the utility company was willing to give the state $500 million several months ago and is now asking for a $396 million rate increase.    

ComEd's rate increase request will create an additional financial burden on consumers.  Illinoisans should not have to make a choice between keeping their lights on and filling a prescription or buying groceries.  AARP urges the ICC to protect the interests of consumers and thoroughly review ComEd's rate increase request.