Legislation introduced by state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, would extend the date by which smart grid formula rates are to expire from 2017 to 2019. The bill is a major priority of Ameren Illinois, the electric utility for most of downstate Illinois.
The executive director of the Citizens Utility Board says the organization will challenge ComEd and Ameren over automatic electric rate hikes.
“ComEd and Ameren received a total of about $382 million in rate hikes,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. “CUB is disappointed in these increases, especially as they will hit consumers in the heart of what could be another expensive winter. Illinois’ new way of setting electric rates — by formula — limits how much consumer advocates and regulators can reduce proposed increases. CUB does plan to file petitions for rehearing to lower the increases as much as possible. However, our focus is also on holding ComEd and Ameren accountable and pushing them to live up to their promise of building a better power grid that maximizes consumer benefits. Illinois consumers deserve to see results.”
• The rate hikes take effect in January. CUB is trying to determine how this will affect individual bills. The increases affect delivery charges — what customers pay to have the electricity delivered to their homes. Those charges take up about a third to a half of the bill. The rest of the bill is taken up by the cost of the electricity itself. That supply rate is determined through a power-buying process managed by the Illinois Power Agency (IPA), a state agency, or by an alternative supplier, if a customer is with one.
• Since this increase involves delivery rates, all customers will pay the higher rates — even those with an alternative supplier.
• The delivery increases are in accordance with passage of the 2011 Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act, or the “smart-grid bill.” The new law uses a formula to determine ComEd and Ameren rates annually for the next several years to pay for about $3.2 billion in system upgrades.
• ComEd’s initial rate-hike request was about $275 million and Ameren’s was about $206 million. Both companies filed the requests last April.
For information, call CUB’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556 or visit www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
NOTE: This information is from an article by the Citizens Utility Board.