With new ComEd and Ameren Illinois rate-hike requests on the table, CUB’s legal team is now challenging $414.1 million in higher rates before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). (Send a message urging the ICC to say NO to the electric rate hikes!) Here’s a summary of all our battles:
ICC Docket No. 21-0367: ComEd rate hike
Amount: $51 million
- If approved, the increase would go into effect in January 2022. ComEd says it would add about 20 cents a month to electric bills for the average customer.
- ComEd sets its rates by a formula that is tied to interest rates. This has led to a decade of unfair rate hikes.
CUB Statement: “Our legal team will study ComEd’s rate-hike filing from top to bottom and we will challenge every penny of wasteful or unnecessary spending in the company’s proposal.”
ICC Docket No. 21-0365: Ameren Illinois rate hike
Amount: $64 million
- If approved, the increase would go into effect in January 2022. Ameren says it would add about $2.75 per month to electric bills for the average customer.
- Ameren also sets its rates under the same unfair formula-rate system as ComEd.
CUB Statement: “This is an awful time for a rate hike, as Illinois families struggle to pay their utility bills amid the COVID-19 public health crisis. Our legal team will dive into Ameren’s rate-hike filing, and we will challenge every penny of wasteful spending.”
Note: While our legal team challenges the rate hikes above, our policy team in Springfield will continue to fight for the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA). Among other things, CEJA would require ComEd to give customers a refund for its corruption scandal; it would replace the unfair formula rate system by which ComEd and Ameren are asking for these increases; and it would create an independent ethics monitor tasked with holding utilities accountable to their customers.
ICC Docket No. 21-0098: Nicor Gas rate hike
Amount: $293 million (Illinois record for gas utilities)
- Nicor’s rate hike would go into effect around December 2021, and if approved would increase bills by about $5.45 per month for the average customer.
- This is the third rate hike Nicor has requested in four years. The company asked for about $208 million in 2017 and about $230 million in 2018–both record requests at the time. The company has received a total of more than $261 million in rate hikes since 2017.
- The company is asking for an excessive profit rate for shareholders of 10.35 percent.
CUB Statement: “Nicor’s massive rate-hike request—believed to be the largest proposed rate increase by a natural gas company in Illinois history—is a cold slap in the face for consumers struggling to pay their heating bills in the middle of an economic crisis brought on by a year-long pandemic. This represents Nicor’s third attempt at a record-setting rate hike in the last four years…Enough is enough.”
ICC Docket No. 20-0810: North Shore Gas rate hike
Amount: $6.138 million (down from the initial filing of $10.6 million)
- North Shore’s rate hike would go into effect around October 2021. If approved, this would increase bills by a few dollars a month for the average customer. (The original request would have increased bills by $4.25 per month.) CUB is glad the company has reduced its proposal, but we’re working to cut the rate hike even more.
- The utility, which covers 50 suburbs in northeastern Illinois, including Northbrook and Waukegan, is asking for an excessive 10 percent profit rate for shareholders.
- Testimony from the Illinois Attorney General’s office used CUB’s proposed Return on Equity, or profit rate for shareholders, along with its own recommendations on incentive compensation for employees, rate-case expenses and updating net plant balance (an adjustment to correct for updated cost and project projections) to argue for cutting the rake hike to about $2.6 million. That’s about 75 percent less than the company’s original proposal. ICC staff recommended cutting the rate hike to about $3.4 million.
CUB Statement (based on testimony we filed in February): “As customers struggle to pay their bills and recover from the pandemic, they shouldn’t be slammed with an unjust rate hike. The company’s request is over the top, and it’s the last thing North Shore customers need as they try to recover from this unprecedented public health and economic crisis.”