Ill. appeals court rules against energy company

Keith Loria Oct. 4, 2010, 4:11pm


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Friday that she has won a court appeal that she says may save Commonwealth Edison customers over $100 million in the future.

The Second District Appellate Court ruled that the Illinois Commerce Commission improperly allowed ComEd to recover inflated property costs and extra infrastructure charges, which resulted in improperly increased consumer bills.

"At a time when people are struggling financially, this is an excellent decision for consumers," Madigan said.

"This decision sets a precedent for all other utilities who've passed on their high operating costs, but not their savings, to consumers.

"The court's ruling ensures consumers throughout our state are paying for the true cost of electricity service-not just paying for the increases in the cost of doing business but also sharing in the savings."

The decision is expected to stop the utility's practice of adding fees to consumers' bills to cover costs, such as capital projects and improvements, which are solely in the utility's control.

Utilities across the state have asked the ICC to approve these increased fees over and above their typical rates that reflect costs of electricity and delivery, but this ruling will impact how the oversight body sets rates for all utilities across the state from now on.

ComEd had requested a rate increase of $360 million in 2008, which Madigan fought.

The ICC eventually granted ComEd a $275 million increase. Madigan appealed to the Second District on the issues of surcharges and ComEd's recouping operational costs that did not account for depreciation in value of its property over the years.

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