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CHICAGO (April 16, 2020) – ComEd is asking the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) for a decrease in the amount it charges customers and announced it is extending the period it will suspend all service disconnections and new late charges until at least June 1.
ComEd today asked for an $11.5 million decrease for the delivery of electricity compared to rates in effect in January of this year, its third rate decrease in a row and fifth in nine years. If approved, the average total monthly residential bill would be about $82 beginning in January of next year, which would be lower than customer bills in 2008. Total bills include energy supply charges, which account for at least half of the monthly bill, and ComEd passes these costs along to customers without profit or markup.
Recognizing the additional financial strain many families and businesses are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, ComEd also is voluntarily extending its suspension of disconnections and new late payment charges through at least June 1, 2020 – one month beyond the original moratorium announced March 13.
“Our rate decrease request for 2021 would extend a long period of rate stability and affordability, and we are committed to doing everything we can to help protect our people and our customers during this unprecedented time, including providing financial assistance and most importantly, ensuring all our customers from residential to hospitals have reliable power,” said Joe Dominguez, CEO, ComEd. “We have improved our reliability more than 70 percent since 2012, which is creating savings that we pass along to customers. We take seriously our role in being good stewards of our customers’ evolving needs and of the environment, and climate change clearly presents challenges. It requires that we remain focused on continuous improvement and on making the investments that deliver superior value. I also want to thank our employees, all of whom are essential workers, for all they do every day to deliver on our promise of clean, safe and reliable power for every customer.”
Dominguez encouraged customers who are experiencing financial challenges to contact ComEd to discuss its variety of payment and assistance options and try to avoid incurring large arrearages that may be difficult to overcome later.
Requests Delivery Rate Decrease
The filing submitted today to the ICC marks the fifth rate decrease requested since the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) was enacted in 2011. EIMA authorized the $2.6 billion smart grid program, which has dramatically improved reliability and created a platform to support innovation and the transition to clean energy in northern Illinois.
ComEd’s high priorities include integrating more renewable energy into the grid, supporting the growth of electric vehicles and meeting demands among commercial customers, such as the growing data center sector, for superior reliability, power quality and competitive rates. Key to achieving these goals is the performance-based formula ratemaking model established by EIMA.
“The formula rate enables Illinois utilities to make investments that will meet the long-term needs of customers, as we’re demonstrating through the smart grid deployment,” Dominguez said. “The formula rate model also holds us accountable for meeting a broad range of metrics, and we’re meeting every one of them.”
When EIMA was enacted, Illinois became a pioneer in performance-based rate making and today this cost recovery mechanism is under consideration or already in place in 19 states.
Thanks to investments in technology like distribution automation devices that automatically route power around potential problem areas, ComEd customers have avoided 13 million interruptions, resulting in societal savings of $2.4 billion.
The ICC and other stakeholders review the costs and investments contained in ComEd’s filing over the next eight months to ensure they are prudent and reasonable before being included in customer rates.
Extends suspension of service disconnections, new late charges
As Illinois officials have extended stay-at-home orders to ensure public safety, ComEd recognizes many customers need to work and learn from home, making safe and reliable electricity especially critical. In addition, some are experiencing financial constraints due to the closing of businesses.
In addition to extending the suspension of disconnects and waiving of new late charges, ComEd encourages customers whose electric service was disconnected prior to the suspension of disconnections to call 800-334-7661 to have service safely restored. As part of this process, ComEd customer care representatives work with customers to identify assistance programs that can supplement bill payment and can help ensure service remains on after this pandemic.
Customers who struggle to cover energy expenses have a growing range of assistance options from ComEd. The company offers financial assistance and flexible payment options, which can help eligible customers reduce budget strain and avoid disconnection. Payment options include budget billing, which averages payments out over a 12-month period to help customers manage their monthly energy bill; flexible payment arrangements are also available. Customers who may be experiencing financial hardship should visit ComEd.com/CARE or call 800-334-7661 for program details.