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ComEd, Ameren file for electric rate decreases (yes, you read that right!)

Electric utilities ComEd and Ameren Illinois have both filed for rate decreases before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC)$11.5 million and $45.3 million, respectively. Both requests will be reviewed by the Commission and decided on in December.

ComEd’s cut, its third rate decrease in a row and fifth in 10 years, would reportedly lower the average residential customer’s monthly bill by about a dollar beginning Jan. 1, 2021. If approved, the average total monthly residential bill would be about $82, according to the utility.

These rate decreases come after years of rate increases by the state’s two largest electric utilities. Through the Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act, the Illinois General Assembly approved Ameren and ComEd’s rates to be set by a formula to help the utilities pay for “SmartGrid” technology upgrades. These formula rates led to rate increases (In fact, Ameren customers have seen about $300 million in net increases since formula rates went into effect.) Now that grid improvements are wrapping up, this year has led to a decrease—good news for consumers.

These decreases will affect delivery charges—what all customers pay to have electricity delivered to their homes. Those charges take up about a third to a half of the bill. The rest of the bill is the cost of the electricity itself.

CUB always likes to hear that a utility is lowering rates, but CUB’s legal team will still review both filings and work to give Illinois consumers the greatest benefit. 

The ICC also directed utilities in the state to suspend disconnections and late-payment charges until the COVID-19 state of emergency is over. Along those lines, ComEd has announced it will extend its suspension of disconnections and new late-payment charges through at least June 1. 

CUB is encouraged by these measures. The last thing consumers need in the middle of a public health and financial crisis is to worry about their utility service.