CUB’s legal and policy teams are working to defeat two electricity-pricing proposals now before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that could cause ComEd bills to increase by tens of millions—if not hundreds of millions—of dollars.
“This is a hidden hike, because it’s likely very few ComEd customers have heard what’s going on at FERC in Washington,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. “There is absolutely no good reason for us to pay higher rates. We need everyone in northern Illinois to take action.”
Some background: In 2016, CUB supporters helped pass the landmark Future Energy Jobs Act. The new state law aims to improve energy efficiency programs and reduce Illinois utility bills by billions of dollars.
But giant, out-of-state fossil-fuel generators—not ComEd, but the companies that sell power on the market—are angry that Illinois’ new energy policies are lowering power prices and hurting profits for their aging power plants. So they’re trying to gouge Illinoisans from Washington.
The generators and some Washington bureaucrats are pushing two complex proposals before FERC (Capacity Repricing proposal and the Minimum Offer Pricing Rule, or MOPR-Ex) to revamp electricity market rules for the power grid that stretches across 13 states, including northern Illinois.
Both proposals would prop up aging power plants, offset Illinois’ pro-consumer policies, and drive up prices in something called the capacity market. The costs associated with that market—what consumers pay to ensure power plants are able to deliver electricity when demand is highest—are a key component of the price of power on electric bills.
The plans have met steep criticism.
“Both proposals would drive up the utility bills of 65 million electricity customers in the region for no additional benefit,” said the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), describing the two proposals as “a rock and a hard place.”
CUB has objected in a filing before FERC, and the Illinois Commerce Commission and Illinois Attorney General’s Office have joined CUB in opposition.
“CUB is proud that Illinois has become a national leader in delivering energy savings to consumers, but we shouldn’t be punished for doing the right thing and advancing clean, efficient energy,” Kolata said. “These new proposals are just creative ways for big energy companies to undo our progress and pick our pockets.”
FERC has final say on whether to adopt either plan—or reject both—but a ruling could happen by Friday, June 29..