ComEd Finally in the Spotlight for Passing Unfair Costs on to Customers

For years, Commonwealth Edison has managed to keep its lobbying scandals, political deals and greedy business models in the shadows.  

But it appears as if the light is finally being shined on the electric company once and for all. 

AARP Illinois commends Mayor Lori Lightfoot for demanding answers on ComEd’s lobbying scandal before the city signs onto another 20 years with the utility giant. We also strongly support legislation introduced this week by Reps. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, and Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago to repeal the ratepayer bailout of two nuclear plants owned by ComEd’s parent company, Exelon. 

AARP Illinois knows the outcomes of these developments are about a lot more than internal politics and subpoenaed documents.  

They are about whether the everyday, hard-working citizens of Illinois have unknowingly been forced to pay more than they should — more than they can afford. 

Older adults across the state are already struggling with the costs of staying in the homes they love. In an AARP survey of Chicago residents 50 and older last year, 60 percent said they worry often or somewhat often that their electric and gas bills are too high. 

And the costs just keep getting steeper.  

Between 2013 and 2018, the cost of utility distribution paid for by ComEd customers in Illinois grew by $730 million dollars. That’s a price increase four to seven times more than the average annual rate of inflation for the same time period, according to a study commissioned by AARP and conducted by the independent Power Bureau. 

But all this has gone on without question, thanks to inexplicable backroom deals and masterful public relations spin.   

Until now.  

The trifecta of an FBI probe, Lightfoot’s stand-off, and the state House bill could finally be what is needed to force ComEd to come out of the shadows. But given the power ComEd has abused for years, it is going to take a mighty force to keep the spotlight on. 

Illinois residents can be this force by calling their elected officials and demanding more transparency from ComEd. Remind them that, in the end, this is not about FBI probes and nuclear bailouts.  

It’s about innocent Illinois families, who for years have been paying ComEd their hard-earned dollars to stay in the dark.  

Bob Gallo is the state director of AARP Illinois, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with 1.7 million members across the state and 250,000 in Chicago. 

17-Energy,22-Talk,19-Legal,16-Econ,24-ILGA,26-Delivered,E Bob,AllPol

via Crain’s Chicago Business

December 13, 2019 at 02:25PM

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