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ComEd's Status Quid Pro Quo

By Matt Wood in News on Jan 9, 2007 4:35PM

The Illinois House may have delivered on what we and the rest of the state have been asking for the past week by voting to freeze ComEd's rates another three years, but don't count on that actually translating to more cash in your pockets. If we remember correctly, bills also have to pass through the senate to become law, and since the Senate Rules Committee, which decides if bills should be considered, is run by Emil Jones, it doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of going to a vote.

chicagoist_200701_emil.jpgJones is the primary opponent of the rate freeze, having already pushed a bill through the Senate calling for a phase-in of the price increase over three years. He believes a freeze would hurt consumers in the long run because it might push ComEd into bankruptcy, which sounds a lot like what ComEd's Astroturf group C.O.R.E. has been saying. Perhaps that's because Jones is a willing recipient of Exelon/ComEd's largesse, having received $46,000 from them the last time he ran for office, along with $111,500 from other utilities like People's Energy, AT&T, and SBC.

We're not saying Jones doesn't have his constituents' best interests in mind with his plan for a phased rate increase. He could sincerely believe that it will stabilize ComEd and keep the lights on while easing the hit on electric bills. But that concern surely has more cynical inspiration. Such a compromise gives him a lot of wiggle room after all, ultimately giving the generous monopoly just what they wanted while appearing as if he was trying to protect the consumer. In other words, all in a day's work in Springfield.