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Big victories so far in 2017

CUB General Counsel Julie Soderna

The year is young, but thanks to the support of Illinois residents, CUB’s legal team has notched some nice consumer victories in the first few months of 2017.

ComEd rate cut! 

In March, CUB helped secure a $17 million rate cut for ComEd customers, after a portion of a rate case was reheard by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). All of the parties agreed to the rehearing, which was tied to a reduction in employee bonuses after ComEd adjusted its reporting of incidents under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. “This rate reduction is small but welcome relief,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said in a statement. 

Stopping Ameren’s attack on efficiency!

Earlier in the month, CUB, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Environmental Defense Fund helped block an Ameren Illinois plan to raise the electric customer charge by 9 percent. Instead, the ICC voted to lower fixed charges on electric bills, which will lead to a 20 percent cut in the customer charge.

“An increase in the customer charge, as Ameren Illinois proposed, would have reduced the incentive to be efficient, because customers would have been forced to pay that same amount month after month, no matter how energy efficient they were,” CUB General Counsel Julie Soderna said. “The ICC’s ruling is a victory for energy efficiency and lower electric bills.”

Victory at FERC!

“This is a big win for Illinois consumers and their power bills,” Kolata said in February. That was after federal regulators rejected a plan that CUB said had the potential to raise Ameren power prices by millions of dollars. The proposal was pushed by big power generators unhappy with Illinois’ relatively low electricity prices. It would have changed rules for a yearly auction that determines “capacity costs”—fees wrapped into power prices that ensure generators produce enough energy when demand is high. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) agreed with consumer advocates that the plan would have created too much price volatility and uncertainty.

We’re happy about these victories, but the fight is far from over. We’re trying to fix a pipeline program that could be devastating for Chicago gas bills, we’re battling the biggest gas rate hike we’ve ever seen ($208.5 million!), and we’re trying to stop AT&T from killing traditional home phone service in Illinois.

Help us fight billions of dollars in higher rates from the big utilities.