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Madigan to Fight Automatic ComEd Rate Increases

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 14, 2011 2:30PM

2011_2_14_comed.jpg Attorney General Lisa Madigan has promised to fight legislation in Springfield currently being championed by ComEd that would lock in rate hikes automatically over the next decade to finance a $2.6 billion infrastructure improvement project.

The legislation proposed by Orland Park Democratic State Rep. Kevin McCarthy, if passed, means that the Illinois Commerce Commission would be relegated to an after-the-fact review to make sure the rate hikes by ComEd and other electricity providers in Illinois reflect the actual work done to improve power grids. A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office wrote in an e-mail to Crain's Chicago Business:

“We have some serious concerns about the proposal in its current form and are strenuously opposed to it. It will seriously harm consumers. We expect this to be a hard-fought issue."

Utility watchdog groups such as the Citizens Utility Board are also opposed to the legislation. ComEd is selling the proposal as a job-creator, with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce supporting the measure.

This is the latest gambit in which ComEd has sought a rate increase. During last year's legislative session, ComEd sought a similar measure, but tied it to an offer of $500 million to help the state's fight its budget deficit. ComEd also has a proposed rate hike of $396 million pending with the ICC.