Online Staff Report
The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) issued the following Dec. 10 in response to rate hikes announced by energy suppliers ComEd and Ameren:
“Today, ComEd and Ameren received a total of about $376 million in rate hikes (reportedly $239 million for ComEd and about $137 million for Ameren),” said CUB Executive Director David Kolata. “CUB is disappointed in these increases, especially as they will hit consumers in the heart of what could be another expensive winter. Illinois’ new way of setting electric rates — by formula — limits how much consumer advocates and regulators can reduce proposed increases. CUB does plan to file petitions for rehearing to lower the increases as much as possible. However, our focus is also on holding ComEd and Ameren accountable and pushing them to live up to their promise of building a better power grid that maximizes consumer benefits. Illinois consumers deserve to see results.”
• These rate hikes take effect in January 2015. CUB is still crunching numbers to determine how this will impact individual bills. The increases affect delivery charges — what customers pay to have the electricity delivered to their homes. Those charges take up about a third to a half of the bill. The rest of the bill is taken up by the cost of the electricity itself. That supply rate is determined through a power-buying process managed by the Illinois Power Agency (IPA), a state agency, or by an alternative supplier, if a customer is with one.
• Since this increase involves delivery rates, all customers will pay the higher rates — even those with an alternative supplier.
• The delivery increases are in accordance with passage of the 2011 “Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act,” or the “smart-grid bill.” The new law uses a formula to determine ComEd and Ameren rates annually for the next several years to pay for about $3.2 billion in system upgrades.
• ComEd’s initial request was about $275 million and Ameren’s was about $206 million. Both companies filed the requests last April.
CUB, Illinois’ leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. 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 website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
Posted Dec. 11, 2014