ComEd to refund $46 million in settlement
Commonwealth Edison Co. has agreed to refund customers $46 million in a settlement with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
The refunds, stemming from rate disputes that dated to 2008, will take the form of credits on customers' November electric bills. The Illinois Commerce Commission approved the settlement today.
The refunds will average about $8 for residential customers, ComEd said.
Most of the money being refunded was tied to the ICC's approval in 2008 of a method that Ms. Madigan's office, along with consumer advocate Citizens Utility Board, argued inflated the value of ComEd's capital investments. The Illinois Appellate Court sided with the attorney general in 2010, but ComEd again challenged the ICC's authority to order refunds. The Appellate Court again sided with Ms. Madigan's office last year, prompting the settlement discussions.
In addition, some of the refund is due to a surcharge the ICC approved in 2009 to fund a ComEd pilot program to install “smart meters” in customers' homes. The attorney general argued there was no legal authority for the surcharge and won in court.
ComEd subsequently lobbied successfully for the 2011 smart grid law, which resulted in annual rate hikes to finance a $2.6 billion grid modernization program, including smart meters in all homes and businesses.
“We are pleased to reach an agreement with the Attorney General and other parties and to resolve this matter in the best interest of our customers,” ComEd Senior Vice President Thomas O'Neill said in a statement.