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Update on record-breaking rate hikes in 2023

Eric DeBellis HeadshotBy Eric DeBellis
CUB General Counsel 

Regulatory Counsel Laura Loyd and I are dealing with a record six rate cases, totaling a whopping $2.9 billion. 

Where do the rate cases stand?
Over the past year, CUB has filed expert testimony uncovering the utilities’ attempts to get state regulators to approve inflated spending and an excessive profit rate for shareholders. We’re about halfway through filing the first two rounds of briefs, in which we adopt reductions proposed by other parties, such as the staff of the Illinois Commerce Commission and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office, to add to our proposed reductions. 

The numbers below reflect additional reductions we have adopted for the Ameren, Peoples and Nicor gas rate cases. With the initial briefs we file for ComEd and Ameren, we expect to add to the reductions we propose in those cases. Currently, our reductions total nearly two-thirds of what the utilities have requested. 

Utility  The rate hike they want How much CUB is fighting to reduce the rate hike
ComEd $1.5 billion over 4 years (state record) $915 million
Ameren Illinois (electric) $481 million over 4 years $520 million
Peoples Gas $402 million a year (state record) $96 million
Nicor Gas $320 million a year  $132 million 
Ameren (gas)  $148 million a year $77 million 
North Shore Gas  $17 million a year $3 million  
Totals $2.9 billion $1.7 billion

What’s next?
Laura and I have our hands full until Thanksgiving, meeting deadlines the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has set in these cases.  

Initial Briefs: The remaining Initial Briefs, for the Ameren and ComEd electric rate cases, are due Sept. 6 and Sept. 12, respectively. 

Reply Briefs: This is where CUB responds to the utilities’ pushing back against our initial briefs. 

  • Nicor Gas and Ameren (gas) were due in late August. 
  • Peoples/North Shore Gas: Sept. 7
  • Ameren (electric): Sept. 22
  • ComEd: Sept. 27

Proposed Orders: This is when the administrative law judges in the cases make a recommendation as to how the ICC should rule in its Final Order.  These dates are subject to change. (The judges are very busy.)

  • Nicor: Sept. 22
  • Ameren (gas): Sept. 26
  • Peoples/North Shore Gas: Oct. 5
  • Ameren (electric): Oct. 20
  • ComEd: Oct. 23

Briefs on Exceptions: This is when CUB and other parties express any disagreements with parts of the Proposed Orders. 

  • Nicor: Oct. 6
  • Ameren (gas): Oct. 11
  • Peoples/North Shore Gas: Oct. 20
  • Ameren (electric): Nov. 2
  • ComEd: Nov. 8

Reply Briefs on Exceptions: This is when CUB can respond to the utilities’ arguments in their Briefs on Exceptions (i.e. we defend what the Proposed Order got right). 

  • Nicor: Oct. 13
  • Ameren (gas): Oct. 18
  • Peoples/North Shore Gas: Oct. 27
  • Ameren (electric): Nov. 14
  • ComEd: Nov. 20 

Final Orders: When the ICC issues final rulings on the utilities’ requests for higher rates. 

  • The final rulings in these cases will be coming out around late November/early December.

We will keep consumers informed of any updates as these cases play out before the ICC. To join the fight against these rate hikes, visit the CUB Help Center’s ‘Take Action’ tab and donate to support our legal expenses, including expert witness testimony.  

About the author: Eric came to CUB in 2020 as Regulatory Counsel, before rising to the position of General Counsel. (He had a prevision stint at CUB as an Attorney-Policy Analyst in 2017.) Eric represents utility ratepayers in lawsuits, primarily before the Illinois Commerce Commission. His favorite part of the job is breaking down complex legal and policy issues in plain language to convey why they matter to consumers. In his free time, Eric is a proud dad and volunteers with local parks and schools.